In 1998, Joe McPhee (b.1939, Miami, FL) and Dominic Duval (b.1944, NYC, NY) recorded The Dream Book (Cadence Jazz Records 1105), a tribute to Ornette Coleman which had its genesis 20 years prior to that release in Joe’s recording of “Old Eyes” (Hat Hut).
For these sets, Joe made the conscious decision to play only alto sax, an instrument that offers a new perspective for both the artist and the listener and which—Joe told me before the performance—forces him to readdress his ideas due to the obvious constraints.
This concert was part of the Suoni Per Il Popolo Festival, which, commencing in 2000, has run each June in Montreal, Que., Canada.
Clear skies, warm weather, and a full room were the conditions when, at about 9:30 p.m., Joe made the introductions (amid the burr of the air conditioner, opening of cans of effervescence, crash of ice in glasses, the occasional street noise) to a remarkably quiet and attentive audience.
This concert (which preceded by a day a Trio-X presentation [#5001]) had two halves. For the purposes of this CD program, I have taken the parts and programmed the music as a seamless whole to affect a single uninterrupted concert as I felt the material lent itself to an uninterrupted listen. For the interested, the intermission fell between tracks 3 and 4 and for the most part I have eliminated the announcements and extraneous stage chatter and tune-ups.
There’s always more apprehension with a duo concert as it is perhaps the hardest situation to reach a creative and emotive compatibility. And I think the opening of the concert reflects a cautious sobriety on the parts of Dominic and Joe, even though they have played together for years. As you listen to the concert it’s clear the connections are in place and the muse is allowed to follow its inspiration.
Sit back and enjoy both the satisfaction of the journey and its conclusions.
Robert D. Rusch - June 14 & 21, 2006.
Thanks to Steve Guimond and Peter Burton of Casa del Popolo for their most pleasant cooperation. And to John Heward and Sylvia Safdie for their hospitality.