Joe McPhee has built up a remarkable discography, on a variety of instruments. Although he remains somewhat of a cult figure, his growing reputation and enormous talent mark him as one of the major contributors to modern jazz improvisation. One of his striking characteristics is his ability to find new players and to pursue new directions. Here, he performs on saxophone with longtime colleagues, bassist Dominic Duval and drummer Jay Rosen, and adds the voice and violin of little-known Rosi Hertlein. Captured live at New York City's Knitting Factory, the group's highlight is clearly the lengthy (more than 47 minutes) "Lift Every Voice and Sing," the lovely spiritual by James Weldon Johnson. The piece slowly unfolds, revealing solo and group improvisations of major substance and incredible beauty, not to mention virtuosity. The violin, in particular, adds a new layer, and Hertlein's interaction with Duval is not to be missed.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Loewy