Joe McPhee took his first trumpet lessons from his father when he was just eight years old. But he didn’t pick up the saxophone until he was 29 nor release his first album under his own name, the landmark recording Nation Time (1971), until a few years later. Throughout the 1970s McPhee forged strong links with likeminded musical freedom fighters across Europe and the States. Reading Edward de Bono’s Lateral Thinking led him to formulate a theoretical concept of his own, Po Music, which he’s described as “a process of provocation that can be used to move from one fixed set of ideas in an attempt to discover new ones”. It’s an apt philosophy for an artist who refuses to be confined either to one instrument, one medium – he’s a fine poet and painter too – or one territory, which has allowed him to work with such dissimilar figures and outfits as Peter Brötzmann, Pauline Oliveros, Evan Parker, Raymond Boni, The Thing, and Universal Indians among many others. With a career now spanning nearly 50 years and over 100 recordings, he continues to forge new connections and reach for music’s outer limits.
Joe Mcphee MASTERCLASS with Paul Lovens & Jean-Marc Foussat on Thursday 29 March.
In collaboration with Hannes Verhoustraete and Cassette for Timescapes.