Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Joe McPhee / John Edwards / Klaus Kugel - A Night in Alchemia (NotTwo, 2020)

Quite a night it was, and although Joe McPhee, playing saxophones and trumpet, has recorded scores of album as a leader or co-leader, putting him in the company of John Edwards on bass and Klaus Kugel on drums makes for an extremely potent group and a very exciting album. The trio had been touring across Europe for over a year before they were captured performing live at Alchemia in Krakow, Poland in 2018 for this album. The musicians are playing very tight and interconnected free jazz that suits these veterans perfectly, they perform four lengthy tracks beginning with "Burden Of Proof" which shows them coming out of the gate and playing complex, yet accessible jazz that draws on their own unique backgrounds and shows just how compatible they are. This is most well represented on the massive twenty three minute track "At the Waters Edge" where McPhee moves through trumpet and saxophones in the most impressive fashion and Edwards and Kugel develop an ever shifting rhythm that is in constant motion and free from cliche. This was a fine album, an excellent snapshot of working band at the peak of their not inconsiderable powers. A Night in Alchemia -

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