Tenor/Fallen Angels

Joe McPhee

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Tenor/Fallen Angels Review

by Steve Loewy

This release adds a 15-minute track ("Fallen Angels") to the original LP issue of Tenor, which made a strong impact when released in the 1970s. Decades later, the music remains a tour de force, though in retrospect, it does not sound quite as revolutionary as it did when first released. Solo tenor is not an easy task, and the fact that McPhee can maintain the listener's interest for an hour of performance is astonishing. That he does so with an endless stream of creativity is remarkable. McPhee was (and is) a master of new sounds. He trailblazes paths, unafraid of consequences, devoid of cliches. His improvisations incorporate squeaks and squeals, but also bop-like stabs and outrageously radical runs that scream for attention. McPhee has come a long way since this major recording, but this still remains one of the best solo tenor albums of avant-garde jazz.

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