Although the album is credited to "the Joe McPhee Trio," the program consists of solo, duo, as well as trio pieces. By the time Joe McPhee, André Jaume, and Raymond Boni recorded this tribute album to the great clarinetist, they had played together for almost 15 years. Needless to say, the music shows a rare cohesiveness and complicity. In such company, multi-instrumentalist McPhee feels comfortable enough to showcase the latest addition to his arsenal, a valve trombone, which allows him to nod to the famous trio Giuffre had with Bob Brookmeyer. There is no mimicry involved; the musicians' goal is to celebrate Jimmy Giuffre's spirit, and to salute a friend. As a result, they create modern and uncompromised music that is still accessible. Moreover, any session embossed by Boni's unique technique and sound can only have a personality of its own. Some of his contributions also explain why he earned a reputation as a rhythmically-oriented guitar player. Among the many highlights is "Nenette," one of the most lovely and heartfelt ballads McPhee has ever penned. Thoughtful, the three musicians include in their homage Giuffre's wife, who also played a big part in her husband's career. "A Portrait of Juanita" is a stirring tone poem played by Boni and Jaume on tenor. This beautiful set is full of a unique tenderness, and comes out as a very personal statement that should not be missed.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alain Drouot