Sunday, June 22, 2014

JOE McPHEE and SURVIVAL UNIT II – At WBAI's Free Music Store, 1971 (CD / hat ART-1996)

Label: hat ART – hat ART CD 6197
Format: CD, Album, Limited Edition; Country: Switzerland - Released: 1996
Style: Free Jazz, Free Improvisation
Recorded At WBAI's Free Music Store, N.Y. N.Y., October 30, 1971.
Design Concept [Graphic Concept] – fuhrer vienna
Liner Notes – Chris Albertson, Joe McPhee
Liner Notes [Producers Note] – Werner X. Uehlinger
Mixed By [Mix], Mastered By [CD Master] – Peter Pfister
Photography By [Photo] – Ken Brunton
Producer – Pia And Werner X. Uehlinger
Recorded By – Chris Albertson

The Hat Art label (Werner X. Uehlinger) was formed in the mid-'70s partly to document the music of multi-instrumentalist Joe McPhee. The tapes of this live concert, which was broadcast by the small New York radio station WBAI, were released for the first time on this 1996 CD. Doubling on tenor and trumpet, McPhee is joined by Clifford Thornton (heard on baritone horn and cornet), Byron Morris (on soprano and alto), pianist Mike Kull, and percussionist Harold E. Smith. Due to the passionate nature of much of this fairly free music and the use of Thornton's baritone horn, one does not really notice the absence of a string bass. The six lengthy pieces (which are sandwiched by somewhat stilted announcing) are full of fire but also have their quiet and lyrical moments. A strong all-around performance that should not have taken 25 years to release.

McPhee – the Poughkeepsie-based saxophonist/trumpeter/composer – came on the scene in the late 1960s and appeared on a now-reissued recording by his mentor Clifford Thornton (whose Gardens of Harlem is in desperate need of reissue, by the way). After a few releases on CJR (all now available on Atavistic’s Unheard Music Series), Uehlinger released McPhee’s Black Magic Man and the relationship has existed ever since, resulting in some of the finest improvised music of the period. The music – by McPhee on tenor and trumpet, Thornton on baritone horn, Byron Morris on soprano and alto, Mike Kull on piano, and Harold E. Smith on percussion – is hot and intense, coming straight from McPhee’s most fiery period. It features the core of McPhee’s repertory at the time, including the acetylene torch intensity of “Black Magic Man,” the declamatory “Nation Time” (where the horns blend with wonderful color), and the gorgeous ballad “Song for Lauren,” where McPhee really begins to establish his powerful lyric strain that would become so recognizable on later recordings. McPhee already sounds in full command of his horns – listen to his lovely trumpet intro to “Message from Denmark” – and the band sounds great too (the underrated Kull just crushes on “The Looking Glass I”). They’re at their most powerful on the intensely dark rise-and-fall of “Harriet,” an exceptional document of free improvisation from one of the music’s true masters.

hat Hut catalog:

If you find it, buy this album!


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. JOE McPHEE and SURVIVAL UNIT II – At WBAI's Free Music Store, 1971 (hat ART-1996)

      FLAC – 1fichier:

      MP3-320 – Zippyshare:

  2. Thank you, Vitko, for this fresh rip!

  3. merci vitko - this is a classic!! thanks for flac + 320 :D

  4. Thank you! Great stuff..

  5. Replies
    1. What do you think, could this your attitude that motivates me to create a new link ??!
      A bit of culture in communication would not be too much.

  6. Dear Vitko, Your blog is an amazing resource. A re-upload would be most appreciated!

  7. Hello - after hearing the Thornton stuff, I would definitely love to hear this if you could re-up (maybe Zippyshare?) thaniks

  8. hullo, happy to find the Zippyshare´s a blast!!

    thank you...

  9. Both links are down :(
    May I ask for re-upload?

  10. can you reupload please? fantastic blog. thanks!

  11. It's an old post, Still a little patience, please.