Bill Shoemaker (JazzTimes) felt "pairing McPhee and Lowe was an inspired idea" while The Wire felt "it's hard to imagine a darker pairing." Will Smith (Omaha World Herald) said "the somewhat controlled energy blowing at times turns chaotic…" while Mark Miller (Toronto Globe and Mail) wrote "it's energy music without the energy. The basic highly expressive vocabulary is the same, but the level of intensity is lower, indeed almost reflective." The Penguin Guide to Jazz wrote "Broodingly surreal and expressive encounters which refuse to obey the Jazz rulebook … McPhee now seems to have evaded bebop altogether and to be playing in an idiom that is entirely his own and almost beyond critical analysis." In Cadence, Steve Loewy wrote "sounds of surprise pervade, and the entire recording twists and turns almost as an interconnected suite…"
Gerard Futrick nominated Volume 1 as best of year in Coda magazine.
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