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.