McPHEE EDWARDS KUGEL
trumpet, saxophone, voice
latest cd on NotTwo Records
A NIGHT IN ALCHEMIA
contact: +49 173 25 450 25
Photo © Photomusix/C.Marx
THE TRIO IS AVAILABLE ON DEMAND ALL OVER THE YEAR
Next tour in Europe: September-24 until October-10, 2021
first cd on NotTwo Records
JOURNEY TO PARAZZAR
Recorded 24th of September 2017@ Metallurgov House Of Culture, Zaporozhye, Ukraine • Recorded by Nikolay Ovcharenko • Mixed and mastered by Rafal Drewniany (dts studio) • Photo by Igor Avdeev • Design by Malgorzata Lipinska
"The music played here is "just XXIst century free jazz", but played at the highest possible level, with emotions and feeling erupting from the scene like lava from an exploding volcano. ... the whole album is magnifique!!!" - Maciej Lewenstein, 2018
Photo by Igor Avdeyev
"Joe McPhee: The tireless reed player’s multi-decade career serves as a road map of the international avant garde, encompassing performance, recording and cross-genre collaborations." - By Daniel Spicer, WIRE, February 2019
"... (Joe McPhee's) magical take on avant-garde sax remains one of the wonders of the scene. He still has one of the most beautiful tones on the planet, even when he’s reaching for jazz’s outer limits." mjd 5/02
John Edwards has always been involved with a wide diversity of musical styles and situations. At home with composed and improvised music he is one of the busiest musicians on the scene.
"Drummer Klaus Kugel is one of Central Europe's busiest and most articulate modern jazz drummers ... he treads the boundary between inside and outside playing in a particularly incisive way; always listening and never getting caught up in his own considerable chops." - Dave Wayne, AAJ, 2013
November-08, Wels, festival „music unlimited“ (AT)
November-12, London, Jazzcafe (UK)
June-22, Peitz, Jazz Festival (DE)
[w/ guests: Ken Vandermark (cl, ts), Fred Lonberg-Holm (vc)]
June-24, Bonn, In Situ Art Society @ ZentrifugeBonn (DE)
June-26, Brussels, KANAL – Centre Pompidou (BE)
[w/ Peter Jaquemyn (b) instead of John Edwards]
June-27, Paris, Les Instants Chavirés (FR)
June-28, Poitiers, Jazz Festival (FR)
April-06, Saarbrücken, Jazz Festival (DE)
April-07, Brugge, Parrazar (BE)
April-08, Linz, Galerie März (AT)
April-09, Villach, Kulturhof:keller (AT)
April-11, Vienna, Blue Tomato (AT)
April-12, Magdeburg, Jazz Festival (DE) w/ guest Steve Swell (tb)
October-12, St. Johann, Alte Gerberei (AT)
October-17, Copenhagen, Jazzhouse (DK)
October-19, Berlin, Jazzkeller69 / Aufsturz (DE)
October-20, Krakow, Alchemia (PL) (cd recording)
October-21, Brugge, Parrazar (BE)
Sept. 22, Geneva, AMR (CH)
Sept. 24, Zaporozhye, Metallurgov House Of Culture (UA) (cd recording)
Sept. 25, Zaporozhye, concert & workshop @ the Music Akademie (UA)
Sept. 26, Vienna, Martinschloessl (AT)
Sept. 27, Villach, Burgkapelle (AT)
Sept. 28, Weikersheim, W71 (DE)
Sept. 29, Schorndorf, Manufaktur (DE)
Sept. 30, Mainz, Atelier Christiane Schauder (DE)
Oct. 01, Brugge, Parazzar (BE)
Oct. 03, Duisburg, Lokal Harmonie / Kreativquartier Ruhrort (DE)
Oct. 04, Berlin, A-Trane (DE)
Photo by Vlad Reznov
Photo by Dmitry Smolenko
JOE McPHEE, JOHN EDWARDS & KLAUS KUGEL
21 Oktober 2018, Parazzar
Review by Geert Vandepoele - 23 Oktober 2018
There are some concerts for which such a term is actually inadequate. Sometimes this is because the quality of the music is so extraordinary that a term like 'concert' seems too commonplace, but it can also be because there is simply so much attached to it. The performance that veteran Joe McPhee and his two companions gave in the Parazzar was one of them: an event with alternating raw-emotional and inflammatory-militant music, a lot of big emotions and a few extra layers of meaning that those present will not forget lightly for all sorts of reasons. It was one that you must have experienced to be able to grasp it all.
But first you had to go back to 1 October 2017, when the trio played its first, amazing concert in the Bruges club. It was the last concert of a series, such a moment when you feel that all the lessons and highlights from the previous concerts were combined one last time in a last, razor-sharp final sprint on life and death. It was music and history, commitment and ecstasy that came together in a concert that effortlessly belonged to the best we saw in 2017. However, for the musicians and over-emotional operator Joeri Hostens it would have a special sequel.
The day after the concert they visited Rik Bevernage, concert programmer and labelman of W.E.R.F., who played a crucial role in the cultural life of Bruges and for Belgian jazz, but also for many international artists. It was partly because of his pioneering work that a lot became possible in this small country, where good intentions are often trampled underfoot by too much unnecessary and paralysing complexity. The meeting and the small concert played at Bevernage also made a big impression on McPhee, who promptly called the live album with recordings from Ukraine Journey To Parazzar (Not Two Records). The return to Bruges was not only to celebrate the CD release, but also a tribute to Bevernage, who died in early March after a debilitating illness.
Just like last year, the evening consisted of two short(er) sets, but they were so packed with jazz, improvisation, gospel, poetry and inflammatory cries that the whole thing regularly approached boiling point and simply threatened to burst apart. But above all it also showed what a gifted artist McPhee is. He led the trio with verve and fire, but also regularly gave way to that frenetic, runaway rhythm section, with a physical, intense performance by Edwards (did we ever see it otherwise?) and an equally inspired performance by a somewhat more controlled Kugel, who nevertheless shone with a flawless flow and warm-blooded soul that at times reminded us of the organic playing of a Hamid Drake.
However, it all started modestly, with resonating metal sounds that were extracted from a row of gongs, while Edwards grabbed them with bow strings and smuggled McPhee in on a white trumpet of rustling air. The sound thickness was soft, the volume went up, and as soon as Edwards traded in his stick for frantically picking and pulling fingers, the sacred exoticism got a compelling, physical drive. McPhee switched to tenor sax, recalled Coltrane-in-spiritual mode and then led the trio along a sensual slalom movement between an elegiac "My Funny Valentine" and inspired free jazz that constantly ignited the fuse. McPhee shouted and sang, fired his rhythm section, leaned back and let the sax sound with fierce tenacity, while finishing off with a compact but gorgeous version of Coltrane's "After The Rain".
The second set was more in line with last year's concert, although it was all a bit less clenched. Here, the militant McPhee came to the fore, who took the "racist fascist in The White House" to the fore (without naming him by name), thundering debuted that we live in dangerous times and shouted his support for excluded and corner-printed minorities (from victims of sexual violence and the LGBTQ community to Black Lives Matter and more). It became a constant back and forth between word and music, with a rhythm section that effortlessly kept things white hot and a foreman who -- with frequent support from an equally unleashed Hostens -- preached and condemned, sputtered and shouted, and brought The Staple Singers and his own Nation Time back to life. "What time is it? Nation time! FOR REAL this time", and so it became 1970 again for a moment, while the fact that McPhee will be 79 next week did not sound plausible at any time. This was a seething performance by a barricade stormer who was once again permeated by the Holy Fire and could count on the support of a pair of strings that is one of the most powerful we saw in times, with a knot of a climax that in turn was wrapped in a poetic exclamation mark of Hostens.
It took some swallowing, all those excessive emotions and raw ecstasy for an audience of (mainly) grey(nde) pale sketches, but at the same time it was not so strange that just in this Parazzar something unfolded that reminded us of the unbridled trance that is usually reserved for black church services or other rituals that contain too much ecstasy to be labelled as 'concert'. Journey To Parazzar, indeed.