OTS is a series of jazz and improvised music events in Lexington, KY. The series tries to give a home to artists making music that doesn't fit with commercial sensibilities and to build an environment where artists and audience can interact more directly. It's a very informal undertaking.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

review of The Thing + Joe McPhee show

A review of The Thing and Joe McPhee's OTS show from last Friday's Herald-Leader.


Lexington Herald-Leader
Friday, December 2, 2005
from the Weekender section

"The Week That Was"

The Thing with Joe McPhee at Underlying Themes:
The members of the Scandinavian free-jazz trio The Thing dressed for the evening in souvenir T-shirts advertising an Austin, Texas, eatery called Ruby's Barbeque. They seemed to enjoy the taste of rock 'n' roll, too, as numerous non-jazz references were peppered about the band's hourlong second set. And when it came to embracing the improvisational inspiration that propels much of its music, the trio went right to the source. It enlisted veteran saxophonist/trumpeter Joe McPhee, a daring jazz stylist for more than three decades, as an auxiliary player. McPhee proved a catalyst for much of the evening's trickier meshings of rock and jazz. Playing off the scorched bark of baritone saxophonist Mats Gustafsson during the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Art Star, McPhee let the music settle into a mantra-like drone before switching to soprano sax and leading The Thing into an atypically sweet-sounding revision of the Black Sabbath staple Iron Man. The rest of the set exhibited numerous levels of beastly improvisation, but it was again McPhee who proved the leveling force. In tackling You Think You Know Me, a work by the seldom-recorded South African trumpeter Mongezi Feza, McPhee and Gustafsson turned to their tenors and molded the music into a studied but soulful blues lullaby. "The music, it takes you to different places," Gustafsson remarked between tunes. That it did -- and with efficiency and invention to spare. - Walter Tunis, contributing music critic


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