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Sunday, January 14, 2007

McPhee/Duval/Shipp - In Finland

This is also one of the best of 2006. Joe McPhee (sax, trumpet) and Dominic Duval (bass) are old companions. They have performed for years with Jay Rosen (drums) as Trio X, with so far eight albums together. This drumless trio brings three long pieces : Never Before, Never Again and In Finland. The first starts with a six minute long thundering piano intro by Shipp, which McPhee suddenly brings to a more peaceful theme, after which Duval immediately switches to arco. McPhee is extremely lyrical with long notes, forcing Shipp to calm down a little. But that is just for a moment, and the theme explodes again in some powerplay by the trio, which goes on for the best of 20 minutes, when McPhee suddenly starts to hint a My Funny Valentine, followed by Shipp who picks up the theme in its entirety, slow, emotional, deep. It's absolutely great how they bring this to a beautiful ending. Never Again is an ode to Monk, starting with Blue Monk. It's quite remarkable that McPhee starts very similarly on the Trio X album “On Tour Toronto/Rochester” (2001) with his version of the same song (and by coincidence (?) My Funny Valentine was also one of the songs on this album too). It starts with McPhee's stuttering and voiceless blowing on his pocket trumpet, staccato piano by Shipp and the pulsing bass of Dubal. Monk is being deconstructed in a chaotic stream of music, only to make place for a newly built beauty and calm, with McPhee on sax. The last piece continues in the same vein : open, adventurous, with much variation. Great album.