Decoy with Joe McPhee - Spontaneous Combustion (5 stars)

Decoy with Joe McPhee - Spontaneous Combustion

Head-spinning live set from veteran free-jazzer and Alexander Hawkins' organ trio


A veteran free-jazzer (check out his 1971 classic Nation Time for a righteous blast of fire music, James Brown funk and radical black politics), Joe McPhee has been making some of his most adventurous and vital work in recent years. This head-spinning live set with London-based organ trio Decoy is testament to the beauty and invention of McPhee’s pocket trumpet and saxophone playing, as he moves through the alien landscape of Steve Noble’s chiming metallic percussion, John Edwards’ inquisitive bass and Alexander Hawkins’ outer-limits organ.

A remarkable player, Hawkins coaxes high cosmic tones, hovering UFO drones and Sun Ra death-rays from his Hammond B3, helping to create a strangely beautiful gas planet atmosphere. The lyricism and sense of space makes the wilder moments – a demented organ freak-out, and a hair-raising passage where McPhee answers Noble’s galumphing floor-tom lurch by wailing into his sax – all the more arresting.