Joe McPhee, Josh Berman, Joshua Abrams, and Mike Reed; Joe McPhee & Jason Adasiewicz Critic's Choice Member Picks Recommended Soundboard

When: Sun., Nov. 21, 10 p.m. 2010

Poughkeepsie multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee didn't release the classic solo saxophone album Tenor till 1976, but he was experimenting with the instrument much earlier—and the proof is on the stunning double album Sound on Sound, recently released by local art gallery Corbett vs. Dempsey. One track is from 1968—the year Anthony Braxton released For Alto, to which McPhee acknowledges his debt in Tenor's liner notes—and pairs McPhee's tenor sax with toy piano and toy percussion. Two solo tenor pieces from early 1969, while not quite as distinctive as those that would come later, are eloquent and fully formed. On the second disc, recorded mostly in 1970, McPhee adds other instruments, like kalimba, "Space Organ" (actually a Wurlitzer), Nagoya harp, and flute. He also employs feedback, echo, and overdubbing to great effect, often embroidering two-chord organ patterns with his lyrical yet screeching tenor sax. McPhee has maintained solo practice as a major part of his art, and last year he released Alto (Roaratorio), a superb live recording on the titular saxophone. He's only played that instrument regularly for the past decade or so, but he's one of the few reedists who can make its more strident tones—upper-register cries, acidic multiphonics—sound so vulnerable and tender. Tonight McPhee plays first in a duo with vibist Jason Adasiewicz and then in a quartet with cornetist Josh Berman, bassist Joshua Abrams, and drummer Mike Reed. See also Saturday, when he plays solo at Corbett vs. Dempsey. —Peter Margasak

Price: Donation requested.

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