Friday, September 24, 2010

McPhee, Whitecage, Smoker, Prentice, Kowald, Duval, Rosen, 1998

Time flies whether you are having fun or not. So as I listen to CIMPhonia 1998, Part One (CIMP 173) and revel in its improvisatory glow it comes as a shock to me to realize that this recording was made 12 years ago. It transcends time, so that's not the point. It hits me, though, that '98 is now part of the somewhat distant past.

For the music contained on this CD it only underscores how great improvisation has and will outlast the time zone in which it was created. And with Trio X currently touring, it also underscores that the three members (Joe McPhee, soprano, tenor, trumpet; Dominic Duval, acoustic bass; Jay Rosen, drums) have been interacting together for a long time.

CIMPhonia 1998, Part One is a more all-encompassing collective improv date though, so the three are intermingled with some very potent cats: Mark Whitecage on reeds, Paul Smoker, trumpet, David Prentice, violin, and the late Peter Kowald on bass.

The group goes through a goodly contrast of moods and modes, from the "sunrise on the Delta" sort of undulations of "Estrus" to all the sorts of permutations and trajectories artists of this caliber can conjure.

Everybody sounds great and they mesh together quite well. To me though it's the horns as a unit and the two basses interlocking that make for especially remarkable listening.

Perhaps you've missed this one. Don't. In its own sweet way it is a milestone for improv, circa 1998.

Click on the CIMP link on this page to get details.


  1. This improvisation will hits the music industry and get more awards.

  2. I wish it would. In the very least it deserves to be widely appreciated as a very fine performance by some beautiful cats.