"Second album by the dream pairing of Joe McPhee and Chris Corsano. A follow up to Under A Double Moon, which featured McPhee’s alto saxophone, Scraps And Shadows finds him largely on tenor. Recorded live in Milwaukee in 2011, the album consists of seven dedicatory pieces, from the delicate balladry of “For Adrienne P” to the appropriately combustible “For Han Bennink.” Corsano’s stupendously detailed drumming and McPhee’s free-soul love cries weave a master latticework together. Cover art by Judith Lindbloom."
“Multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee is 72 years old, far enough along that he could be forgiven for kicking back and letting people put laurels upon his brown. But as Fred Anderson, one of the seven dedicatees on this LP of dedications, was reminded every night that he walked off the stage of his club and went right back to stocking the bar, the free-jazz receiving line is a short one. McPhee knows this, too. Like Anderson, he’s carrying on as he always has, pushing himself to evolve and proving his mettle anew each time he plays. And he makes a special point of celebrating not just the people who’ve come before him, but the people who are making things happen now. Two of the people honored on Scraps and Shadows are no longer with us, but the other five still have earthly hands to receive the bouquets that McPhee and his much younger partner Chris Corsano have picked for them. But for these two men, paying tribute does not mean making nice; there are plenty of thorns in these bunches of flowers. Sticking mostly to tenor saxophone, McPhee pushes his horn beyond the bounds of convention; he sings through it, or along with it, obtaining otherworldly polytonal effects that’ll put the hairs right up on the back of your neck. He also plumbs his sax for vibrato-laden lines that arc out from whatever cloud the Ayler brothers smile down from these days and gnarled utterances so compacted it’ll take a dozen listens to decode them. He’s more frankly lyrical on his other instruments, using a patiently expressed pocket trumpet melody to set up a fractious tenor-drums duel on “For Paul Flaherty,” and honoring artist/musician/bartender Adrienne Pierlusi with a brief, tender clarinet air. Corsano is scrupulously attuned to McPhee’s wavelength, using a light rain of cymbal tones to ratchet up haunted anguish of McPhee’s cries on “For Jim Pepper” and powering the saxophonist with gale-force bursts on the unfettered closer “For Han Bennink” before pulling back, way back, to erect the transparent but sturdy scaffold of stick-work for him to ascend at the tune’s end.” – Bill Meyer, Dusted
“Scraps And Shadows is a new duo LP with Joe McPhee [and Chris Corsano]. This time, Mr. McPhee plays mostly tenor sax, and his deep, gurgling tone hits tons of places — from pure R&B honk to ripping fiery gusts of sheer overblown freedom. The pieces are dedicated to different saxophonists and drummers, and the results are a lush, grounded and highly jazzic LP.” – Thurston Moore & Byron Coley, Arthur
“…a lyrical and tough expansion on the art of McPhee and Corsano.” – Clifford Allen, Ni Kantu
Available as a 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC download.
1. For Fred Anderson - 2:48
2. For Adrienne P. - 2:38
3. For Jim Pepper - 8:11
4. For Muhammad Ali - 3:46
5. For Paul Flaherty - 8:07
6. For Kidd Jordan - 4:32
7. For Han Bennink - 3:47
Since his emergence on the creative jazz and new music scene in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Joe McPhee has been a deeply emotional composer, improviser, and multi-instrumentalist, as well as a thoughtful conceptualist and theoretician.
McPhee’s first recordings as leader appeared on the CjR label, founded in 1969 by painter Craig Johnson . These include Underground Railroad by the Joe McPhee Quartet in 1969, Nation Time by Joe McPhee in 1970, and Trinity by Joe McPhee, Harold E. Smith and Mike Kull in 1971.
By 1974, Swiss entrepreneur Werner X. Uehlinger had become aware of McPhee’s recordings and unreleased tapes. Uehlinger was so impressed that he decided to form the Hat Hut label as a vehicle to release McPhee’s work. The label’s first LP was Black Magic Man, which had been recorded by McPhee in 1970. Black Magic Man was followed by The Willisau Concert and the landmark solo recording Tenor, released by Hat Hut in 1976. The earliest recordings by McPhee are often informed by the revolutionary movements of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s; for example, Nation Time is a tribute to poet Amiri Baraka and Joe McPhee & Survival Unit II at WBAI’s Free Music Store, 1971 (finally released as a Hat Art CD in 1996) is a sometimes anguished post-Coltrane cry for freedom.
During the 1990’s, McPhee finally began to attract wider attention from the North American creative jazz community. He has since been performing and recording prodigiously as both leader and collaborator, appearing on such labels as CIMP, Okkadisk, Music & Arts, and Victo. In 1996, 20 years after Tenor, Hatology released As Serious As Your Life, another solo recording (this time featuring McPhee performing on various instruments). McPhee also began a fruitful relationship with Chicago reedman Ken Vandermark , engaging in a set of improvisational dialogues with Vandermark and bassist Kent Kessler on the 1998 Okkadisk CD A Meeting in Chicago. The Vandermark connection also led to McPhee’s appearance on the Peter BrotzmanChicagoOctet/Tentet three-CD box set released by Okkadisk that same year. As the 1990s drew to a close, McPhee discovered two like-minded improvisers in bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Jay Rosen- TRIO X.
"He is a stellar improviser, relishing his sound materials so caringly and for so long, the kind of player that invites you to really step outside of whatever mix you're and think and feel for a while." Hank Shteamer, Dark Forces Swing Blind Punches
Chris Corsano is one of the greatest drummers working today. He has developed a percussive language of extraordinary amplitude and infinite resources. His collaborations stretch from free jazz greats (Joe McPhee, Paul Flaherty & more) to noise mavens (Bill Nace, C Spencer Yeh etc) and pop superstars (Björk). Capable of generating narrative out of permanent ecstasy, Corsano never ceases to be profoundly affirmative and imposing of his language, and being an absolute and charismatic virtuoso, he simultaneously is one of the most noble and generous improvisers of the few last decades.