Variations On A Blue Line

Joe McPhee

Medium: CD
Year: 1979/2012

Availability: Out of stock



Joe McPhee is here on tenor and soprano saxophone.

The 17 minutes opening and leading composition Beanstalk embodies immediately all the paraphernalia of techniques and styles that McPhee can exhibit. You can hear drops of breath streaming through the tubes or hiding below the keys and the holes of the instruments, gentle hammerings, slap tonguing (was it already called this at that time?) and silent fingering on the buttons. The sound is built through rubbings, squeaks and hits until some sudden coherent and eruptive phrasings emerge and disappear. No emotion is left aside and the player can swiftly switch between a pianissimo and an ostinato. Around the eleventh minute mark are remarkable some Theremin-like pitches introducing his peculiar hoarse, almost painful, bass voice. And again we find percussive trills and droning long whispers. It really seems a duet between two sax players more than a solo.

"Motian [Motion] Studies" moves down from vertiginous high pitches towards melody. In many passages you donÕt feel the whole as a solo performance because it is easy to imagine a complete orchestra surrounding the saxophoneÕs voice.

"Variation on a Blue Line (After a Theme For Knox)" is the bluesy third track that evolves in a violent eruption of fast whistles leading us to "ÔRound Midnight" by Thelonious Monk, that Joe McPhee interpreters with all the soul he still has in his lungs.-Paolo Casertano, FreeJazzBlog