Joe McPhee Joe McPhee

Since his emergence on the creative jazz and new music scene in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, Joe McPhee has been a deeply emotional composer, improviser, and multi-instrumentalist, as well as a thoughtful conceptualist and theoretician. Born on November 3, 1939, in Miami, FL, McPhee first began playing the trumpet at age eight. McPhee continued on that instrument through high school and then in a U.S. Army band stationed in Germany; during his Army stint, he was first introduced to traditional jazz. Clifford Thornton ’s Freedom and Unity , recorded in 1967 and released in 1969 on the Third World label, is the first recording on which McPhee appears. In 1968, he began playing the saxophone and since then has investigated a wide range of instruments (including pocket trumpet, clarinet, valve trombone, and piano), with active involvement in both acoustic and electronic music.

McPhee’s first recordings as leader appeared on the CjR label, founded in 1969 by painter Craig Johnson . These include Underground Railroad by the Joe McPhee Quartet in 1969, Nation Time by Joe McPhee in 1970, and Trinity by Joe McPhee, Harold E. Smith and Mike Kull in 1971. By 1974, Swiss entrepreneur Werner X. Uehlinger had become aware of McPhee’s recordings and unreleased tapes. Uehlinger was so impressed that he decided to form the Hat Hut label as a vehicle to release McPhee’s work. The label’s first LP was Black Magic Man , which had been recorded by McPhee in 1970. Black Magic Man was followed by The Willisau Concert and the landmark solo recording Tenor , released by Hat Hut in 1976. The earliest recordings by McPhee are often informed by the revolutionary movements of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s; for example, Nation Time is a tribute to poet Amiri Baraka and Joe McPhee & Survival Unit II at WBAI’s Free Music Store, 1971 (finally released as a Hat Art CD in 1996) is a sometimes anguished post- Coltrane cry for freedom and liberation.

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November 03, 2019

Jazz Musician of the Day: Joe McPhee

November 03, 2018

Jazz Musician of the Day: Joe McPhee

November 03, 2017

Jazz Musician of the Day: Joe McPhee

November 03, 2016

Jazz Musician of the Day: Joe McPhee

November 02, 2015

Jazz Musician of the Day: Joe McPhee

November 03, 2014

Jazz Musician of the Day: Joe McPhee

September 19, 2014

Jazz This Week: Joe McPhee and Survival Unit III, Old Webster Jazz and...

December 15, 2013

Monday Night Jazz Sessions @ Quinn’s In Beacon, NY Announces Its...

September 16, 2011

Jazz This Week: Joe McPhee, Old Webster Jazz and Blues Festival, St....

September 11, 2011

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: The Improvisations of Joe McPhee

June 26, 2011

Joe McPhee's Survival Unit III - Synchronicity (Harmonic Convergence,...

November 23, 2010

Decoy and Joe McPhee - Oto (Bo' Weevil, 2010)

November 10, 2010

Joe McPhee and Ingebrigt Haker-Flaten - Blue Chicago Blues (Not Two,...

August 04, 2010

Hudson Valley Legend Joe McPhee And His Group, Trio X, To Play The...

June 09, 2009

Trio X with Joe McPhee, Dominic Duval and Jay Rosen at Vision Festival

September 26, 2008

Trio X: Joe McPhee, Jay Rosen and Dominic Duval Tenth Year Celebration

July 20, 2008

Joe McPhee: "Sweet Freedom - Now What?" On Hatology

April 17, 2008

Angels, Devils and Haints/a Celebration of Albert and Donald Ayler

February 22, 2008

Trio X: Joe McPhee, Jay Rosen and Dominic Duval Tenth Year Celebration!

January 19, 2007

Trio X: Joe McPhee/Dominic Duval/Jay Rosen 1/19/07 @ Clemente Soto Velez


Albums by Joe McPhee

Album A Pride Of Lions by Joe McPhee

A Pride Of Lions

The Bridge Sessions

Album From Outer Space by Joe McPhee

From Outer Space

Roaratorio Records

Album Imaginary Numbers by Joe McPhee

Imaginary Numbers

Clean Feed Records

Album Flowers by Joe McPhee


Cipsela Records

Album Ticonderoga by Joe McPhee


Clean Feed Records



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