Joe McPhee (NY) + Guests – January 17/18th | 2019

Our third show of the season, and first of the new year, continues to expand the palette and move the mind. For this instalment, we’re honored to be hosting free-jazz legend and restless creative Joe McPhee. At an exuberant 78 years young, still performing, collaborating and blowing minds on the regular, Joe brings a wealth of spirit and depth of breath that surpasses players a quarter his age.

A trumpet player since childhood, led by his musician father, Joe McPhee discovered jazz music while stationed in Germany during World War II as a trumpet player with the U.S. Army band. Eventually transferring his talents to saxophone and cornet, his first appearances as a sideman on bona fide recordings cropped up in the late sixties. In 1970, he released Nation Time, a record that stands as a monument to the Civil Rights era. Fusing groovy, hard-edged playing with a now-legendary call and response chorus, the title track stands as a major monument to the Civil Right Era. Elsewhere, the record tackles James Brown style pocket-funk before dancing off into the ether of creative elsewheres, showing early signs of McPhee’s uncanny versatility.

In the 1980s, he discovered an affinity for the work of Deep Listening pioneer Pauline Oliveros. After immersing himself in her creative theories and recording with her nebulous group of sonic adventurers, The Deep Listening Band, McPhee began cementing his own theories on creativity and collaboration. Called ‘Po Music’, this approach, which combines provocation with Positive, Possible, Poetic hypotheses, has lead McPhee through a relentless, daring career that spans over five decades. Throughout, McPhee has served as a vital thread for musicians, genres, scenes and communities touching on free jazz, improv, punk, noise and every single nook in between.

His time in Halifax will feature a unique solo performance at The Bus Stop Theatre and a Live In Conversation session with local jazz scholar Tim Crofts at Halifax Central Library. Support for the performance comes care of local drone navigator Hosta and beloved spoken-word champ Andre Fenton.

Joe McPhee w/ Andre Fenton + Hosta

@ Bus Stop Theatre
Friday, January 18th
Doors 8pm / Music 8:30pm
$20 / PWYC

Joe McPhee: Live In Conversation

w/ Tim Crofts
@ Halifax Central Library
Thursday, January 17th
7pm / FREE / All Ages

Joe McPhee

Joe McPhee, born November 3, 1939 in Miami, Florida, is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, improviser, conceptualist and theoretician. He began playing the trumpet at age eight, taught by his father, himself a trumpet player. He continued on that instrument through his formative school years and later in a U.S. Army band stationed in Germany, at which time he was introduced to performing traditional jazz. Clifford Thornton’s Freedom and Unity, released in 1969 on the Third World label, is the first recording on which he appears as a side man. In 1968, inspired by the music of Albert Ayler, he took up the saxophone and began an active involvement in both acoustic and electronic music.

His first recordings as leader appeared on the CJ Records label, founded in 1969 by painter Craig Johnson. These include Underground Railroad by the Joe McPhee Quartet (1969), Nation Time (1970), Trinity (1971) and Pieces of Light (1974). In 1975, Swiss entrepreneur Werner X. Uehlinger release Black Magic Man by McPhee, on what was to become Hat Hut Records

In 1981, he met composer, accordionist, performer, and educator Pauline Oliveros, whose theories of “deep listening” strengthened his interests in extended instrumental and electronic techniques. he also discovered Edward de Bono’s book Lateral Thinking: A Textbook of Creativity, which presents concepts for solving problems by “disrupting an apparent sequence and arriving at the solution from another angle.” de Bono’s theories inspired McPhee to apply this “sideways thinking” to his own work in creative improvisation, resulting in the concept of “Po Music.” McPhee describes “Po Music” as a “process of provocation” (Po is a language indicator to show that provocation is being used) to “move from one fixed set of ideas in an attempt to discover new ones.” He concludes, “It is a Positive, Possible, Poetic Hypothesis.” The results of this application of Po principles to creative improvisation can be heard on several Hat Art recordings, including Topology, Linear B, and Oleo & a Future Retrospective.


Andre Fenton

Andre Fenton is an author, spoken word artist, and filmmaker. He has performed and represented Halifax, Nova Scotia at 7 national poetry festivals across Canada. He was previously a member at large on Spoken Word Canada and currently on the board of directors within the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. He has won awards in both filmmaking and spoken word poetry and an author of two books, Ode to Teen Angst and Worthy of Love.



Hosta is the solo noise/drone project of Kayla Stevens.  Sounds like anti-music meets horror soundscapes. Improvisations using electronics and  foraged samples.


Tim Crofts

Tim Crofts is a true 21st Century pianist. He has performed in many settings including Pop, Hip Hop, Jazz, Folk, World, Classical, R&B and Electronica. However, Crofts main focus remains improvisation & new music. Combining elements of 20th century classical music with free jazz improvisation and world music aesthetics, Crofts also performs in electronic settings utilizing a variety of samplers, synthesizers and keyboards to create an even more extended palette of sounds and textures. All these stylistic elements are blended through free improvisation, and the pursuit of the sound of the moment. Tim received his Masters of Music in Contemporary Improvisation from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. During his time at NEC, Tim studied with Hankus Netsky, Bob Moses, and Joe Maneri.


In Halifax, Tim has been active in both the performance and teaching of improvised music. He has been presented regularly by suddenlyLISTEN in concerts and on tour, with the Crofts/Adams/Pearse Trio. He has performed regularly with the Upstream Orchestra and in other concerts with such creative music luminaries as Jerry Granelli, Gerry Hemingway, Graham Collier, Evan Parker, Sam Shalabi, Francois Houle, Susan Alcorn, Lori Freedman, Philippe Lauzier and Dave Douglas. In 2015 Tim released two recordings: his solo CD 8 Ball and Doorknob, and Literal Lateral with the Crofts/Adams/Pearse Trio and percussionist Gerry Hemingway. In 2016 he released Collateral with Adams and Shalabi and Arrhythmia, a collaboration with local spoken word artist hermitofthewoods.