Joe McPhee / John Snyder

Pieces of Light

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Pieces of Light was recorded and released in 1974 by the CJR label. Joe McPhee, who plays everything from trumpets and saxophones to harp to a variety of chimes and a modified nagoya, pairs with John Snyder on an ARP synthesizer. The result is a meandering six-part meditation on how best to combine acoustically and electrically driven sounds. While this recording is rare, it's appeal even to McPhee fans is limited because of the busyness of Snyder's spacy yet insistent sounds, which almost cover McPhee. When he plays solo -- as on the beautiful tenor-only prologue -- it is wonderful. "Les Heroes Sont Fatigues" also works well, as McPhee blows hard on the horn from the margins and Snyder's synth evokes the sounds of bombs dropping on a battlefield. But most of Pieces of Light is merely a curiosity.

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