The Wire


Below The Radar 26

Track 4

Artwork by Karl Wirsum


from Nuclear Family

Multi-instrumental master Joe McPhee and his longtime colleague, the French saxophonist and clarinettist André Jaume, joined forces for this studio recording in 1979 that was prepared but never released. It is primarily structured around pairs of tunes by Charles Mingus, Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington (or Billy Strayhorn), adding Ornette Coleman’s “Lonely Woman” for good measure. The stunningly intimate results show the twosome’s capacity for creative interplay at a fairly early stage in its unfolding. Mingus’s “Pithecanthropus Erectus”, which was performed by a larger group on Topology, gets pared down to its essential walking-bass-ness, while Monk’s “Evidence” is taken apart, and solo spots by both men are as riveting as one would expect.