14–15 February 2016
Joe McPhee and Chris Corsano have provided some of the absolute stand-out moments at OTO, and it's fantastic to welcome them back for two nights. Opening each night with a duo set, followed by a trio with John Edwards the first evening, and Eddie Prévost / Orphy Robinson for a very special triple-percussion quartet on the second night, prepare for the kind of radically intuitive and joyously intense interplay that comes along very rarely indeed.
“...starting quietly with discreet noises, taps and rattles, breathy ghost notes, they soon started to stretch out across the territory available. Which given the majestic pedigree of Joe McPhee and the younger Corsano's awesome technique is a wide, wide open space. McPhee is a master of multisonics on his instruments and Corsano uses an expanded kit and often electronics to buttress his rhythmic muse.” – Sounds and Texts
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.
Eddie Prévost plays with immense fire, grace and invention. Founder of the essential AMM, collaborator of the greatest improvisers internationally, since the 60's he has kept a continuous contact with the scene and always manages to invent anew his contribution to "meta-music".
“Prévost's free drumming flows superbly making use of his formidable technique. It’s as though there has never been an Elvin Jones or Max Roach.” - Melody Maker
“Relentlessly innovative yet full of swing and fire.” – Morning Star
Orphy Robinson is one of the major figures of the jazz scene - he has released records on Blue Note and played with Don Cherry, David Murray, Henry Threadgill, Courtney Pine, Jazz Warriors and Andy Shepherd.
He has composed for Film and TV- including “In answer to your question” for the Balanescu String Quartet and “ 42 Shades of Black” for Phoenix Dance Theatre,which was performed at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Currently leads the groups CODEFIVE- NUBIAN VIBES - he also plays in the groups BRUISE and CLEAR FRAME
"As the saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter once famously remarked in a 1992 interview with Mel Martin, “The word ‘jazz’ means to me no category”. You would similarly search in vain for a pigeon hole in which to place Black Top #5. An evening of surpassing invention and ambition, there might be a more creative, more engaging and more inspiring gig at this year’s London Jazz Festival. But I somehow doubt it." - The Arts Desk
John Edwards is a true virtuoso whose staggering range of techniques and boundless musical imagination have redefined the possibility of the double bass and dramatically expanded its role, whether playing solo or with others. Perpetually in demand, he has played with Evan Parker, Sunny Murray, Derek Bailey, Joe McPhee, Lol Coxhill, Peter Brötzmann, Mulatu Astatke and many others.
"I think John Edwards is absolutely remarkable: there’s never been anything like him before, anywhere in jazz." - Richard Williams, The Blue Moment