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Venue:
International House3701 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA Map
Price: $12 General Admission
Sunday, November 2, 2008 - 8:00pm

Joe McPhee's Trio X featuring Mikolaj Trzaska

Joe McPhee, saxophone + pocket trumpet
Mikolaj Trzaska, saxophone + bass clarinet
Dominic Duval, double-bass
Jay Rozen, drums

Since his emergence on the creative jazz and new music scene in the late 1960s, Joe McPhee has been a deeply emotional composer, improviser, and multi-instrumentalist, as well as a thoughtful conceptualist and theoretician. Born on November 3, 1939, in Miami, McPhee first began playing the trumpet at age eight. He continued on that instrument through high school and then in a U.S. Army band stationed in Germany. During his Army stint, he was first introduced to traditional jazz. Clifford Thornton's Freedom and Unity, recorded in 1967 and released in 1969, was the first recording on which McPhee appears. In 1968, he began playing the saxophone and since has investigated a wide range of instruments (including pocket trumpet, clarinet, valve trombone, and piano), with active involvement in both acoustic and electronic music.

McPhee's first recordings as leader appeared on the CjR label, founded in 1969 by painter Craig Johnson. These include Underground Railroad (1969), Nation Time (1970), and Trinity featuring Philadelphia's 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 was 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. As the 1980s began, and with a number of Hat Art recordings under his belt, McPhee met composer, accordionist, performer, and educator Pauline Oliveros, whose theories of "deep listening" strengthened his interests in extended instrumental and electronic techniques.

Although his work was well documented on Hat Hut, McPhee remained a relative unknown in his home country for many decades. During the 1990s, 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. McPhee also began a fruitful relationship with Chicago reedman Ken Vandermark, engaging in a set of improvisational dialogues with Vandermark and bassist Kent Kessler. The Vandermark connection also led to McPhee's appearances with the Peter Brötzmann Chicago Octet/Tentet. And, as the 1990s drew to a close, McPhee discovered two like-minded improvisers in bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Jay Rosen. The trio premiered at the Vision Jazz Festival, but the concert went unnoticed by the press.  McPhee, Duval and Rosen therefore decided that an apt title for the group would be Trio X.

Mikolaj Trzaska is a saxophonist, bass clarinetist and composer. He is one of the founders of the yass scene in Poland (yass is an improvised avant-garde of jazz music). He works together with many recognized musicians and plays in different line-ups, and his solo career is an unceasing journey. Thanks to cooperation with Peter Friis Nielsen, Peter Ole Jorgensen and and Peeter Uuskyla he feels close musically to Scandinavia. To date, Trzaska has collaborated with Lester Bowie, Peter Brötzmann, Tomasz Stanko, John Tchicai, Noel Akchote, Clementine Gasser, Jan Luc Cappozzo and Adam Pieronczyk. He has recorded more than 30 albums.

Made possible with generous support from the Polish Cultural Institute. Sponsored by International House Philadelphia.