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July/August 2007

Joe Mcphee & Paul Hession
A Parallax View
SLAM

After playing a handful of performances with saxophonist Joe McPhee in the United States, British drummer Paul Hession brought his new friend to England for four appearances in 2003, highlights from two of which were captured for A Parallax View. The duo apparently struck up an immediate rapport because this disc personifies the firepower, depth and dynamic sense found in the strongest free improvisation.

In “Tipping Point,” McPhee begins in a gruff mood, taking flying leaps from the top to bottom of his tenor, spurned by Hession’s press rolls. But after pushing things to the extreme, the saxophonist pulls back around the four-minute mark and glides into a slow, probing melody. The combination of moods serves to make the final product all the more powerful. In “From Eremite to Termite,” he takes an alternate approach, twisting a spiritual melody with each repetition, bending and squeezing the notes for a dramatic, soulful effect. After a brief spoken word introduction, “Blue Coat Blue Collar” features a solo tenor that finds McPhee vocalizing and blowing simultaneously. Hession gets his own wide-open space during the 14-minute “Evocation” and displays a spastic Tony Oxley-style approach to his kit in “Love is (Like Walking Naked on a Razor Blade),” a title which presumably plays into the fun these two had while creating this music.

Originally published in July/August 2007
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