John Butcher / Joe McPhee – “At The Hill Of James Magee” (trost records, 2019)

“At The Hill Of James Magee” is a new release of “trost records”. Album was recorded by two great jazz stars – Joe McPhee (saxophones) and John Butcher (saxophones). There’s no need to introduce these two outstanding jazz masters – they are already known at all international avant-garde jazz scene. Masterful playing technique, effective and impressive manner, innovative style, passionate and driving improvising, the best quality of sound – all these elements are the main compounds of their music. The musicians are the central figures of avant-garde and experimental jazz scene for many decades already. Interesting projects, fascinating collaborations and concerts along with other famous jazz masters and legends make their music fresh, interesting and expressive. Musicians are full of new and innovative ideas – they bravely take on risky adventures, noisy, shrieky, wild or simply impressive sound experiments, searches of unusual sounds and timbres, or spontaneous, driving and bright free improvisations.

“At The Hill Of James Magee” is filled with dynamic and sparkling sound. The improvisations have all the basics of avant-garde jazz and free improvisational music. Open form gives the liberty to express dozens of emotions and improvise without any frames. It’s traditional element, who’s always used in free improvisations – open form usually is constructed from other free forms of jazz or experimental music. Fascinating instrumentation is the most important element of all. It’s bright, evocative, dynamic and unpredictable – from silent and subtle tremolo, trembling solos, strange timbres, outrageous noises or rhythms, the musicians go straight to moody glissando, colorful, moving and passionate passages, sparkling and roaring blow outs, special effects, abbreviations, illustrative ornaments, vibrato, staccatto and other similar expressions and playing techniques. Universal kit of instrumentation is used here – experimental, shocking ,crazy, wild or specific ways of playing gently meet the traditional playing techniques, expressions, ornaments and abbreviations. Suggestive and tremendous instrumentation brings in the compositions, drive, passion, power and suggestion – all music is live, expressive and especially emotional. Passion, vibration, pleasure, joy and innovations make original and inventive sound, rich musical language and pattern. Independnet melodies, gorgeous timbres, strict or abstract rhythms, glisando, vibrato, arpeggio, roars, whistles, growls and other expressions makes imaginary, animated, moving and polyphonic musical pattern. Musicians have innovative point of view – each of them is trying to create evocative and fresh sound of avant-garde jazz. Rare combos, eclectic stylistic pairs, innovative and sparkling instrumentation, sound experiments are mixed up with aggressive, sharp and hot playing manner. Joe McPhee is improvising just marvelous – he’s the master of get together millions of different rhythms, sounds and moods. His music is always in change – all kinds of motions and character are mixed up here. Aggressive and expressive melodies are illustrated with dizzy and charming passages, colorful ornaments, furiously rapid and wild solos, frantic culminations, dramatic and roaring blow outs, subtle, silent and lonely tunes, repeated again and again in some episodes, and spontaneous musical decisions. The improvisations are somewhere between avant-garde jazz and experimental music. Joe McPhee is dedicated to search new, shocking  or simply weird expressions, wild ways of playing or unheard tunes. His music has rising culminations, where meets power, turbulence and drive, and silent pauses, who’s lyrical, abstract and filled with surprises. These two sides are one against each other all the time. That makes an effort to contrasting, glamorous and interesting sound. John Butcher also has hot, expressive and suggestive playing manner. He’s getting on driving culminations, calm and peaceful downs, drmaatic and shrieky excerpts, luminous solos or slow, contemplating and lyrical pieces. Though his playing manner usually is very aggressive, angry and sharp, here he demonstrates his other side of playing – gentle, light and gorgeous timbres are mixed up with slow, solemn, modest and cool solos. The music of this album is bright and vivacious – it’s filled with bright contrasts, surprising and innovative ways of playing, gorgeous and outrageous sounds and expressions. It has impressive and interesting sound.


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