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Best of 2024

Joe McPhee

The Willisau Concert

Label: Superior Viaduct

Format: LP

Genre: Jazz

Preorder: Release Date: June 28th, 2024


Joe McPhee's first international release, Black Magic Man, was issued on the newly formed Hat Hut imprint in 1975. It was a watershed moment for the 35-year-old musician. Based in Poughkeepsie, New York, he was too far away from Manhattan to have participated extensively in the Loft Jazz happenings of the decade. European exposure, however, would give McPhee an alternative circuit, something of an escape route from the trappings of American cultural myopia.

" In support of the new record for this Swiss label, McPhee invited John Snyder on a European tour in October 1975. Snyder was a synthesizer player with whom McPhee had made the duet LP Pieces Of Light, released a year earlier on CjR. The two musicians developed an extensive repertoire, playing diverse spaces in the Hudson Valley. Geographically close gigs were a plus, since it took extra energy to hoist Snyder's ARP 2600.

"McPhee and Snyder were invited to play at the Willisau Jazz Festival in Switzerland. If you compare this live record with Pieces Of Light, a studio effort, it's considerably more open. South African drummer Makaya Ntshoko is rolling thunder on the choral 'Voices,' shuffling under Snyder's bubbly beat on 'Bahamian Folksong.' It is quite a special combination, enough so that Hat Hut chose to release it as their next LP, Hat Hut B in their alphabetical series. The Willisau Concert represents the sound of Joe McPhee opening up, opening out, expanding his field of operations to include new figures, fresh experiences, new continents of sound."

John Corbett (excerpt from the liner notes)

Cat. number: SV 186
Year: 2024