Joe McPhee

Joe McPhee took his first trumpet lessons from his father when he was just eight years old. But he didn’t pick up the saxophone until he was 29 nor release his first album under his own name, the landmark recording Nation Time (1971), until a few years later. Throughout the 1970s McPhee forged strong links with likeminded musical freedom fighters across Europe and the States. Reading Edward de Bono’s Lateral Thinking led him to formulate a theoretical concept of his own, Po Music, which he’s described as “a process of provocation that can be used to move from one fixed set of ideas in an attempt to discover new ones”. It’s an apt philosophy for an artist who refuses to be confined either to one instrument, one medium – he’s a fine poet and painter too – or one territory, which has allowed him to work with such dissimilar figures and outfits as Peter Brötzmann, Pauline Oliveros, Evan Parker, Raymond Boni, The Thing, and Universal Indians among many others. With a career now spanning nearly 50 years and over 100 recordings, he continues to forge new connections and reach for music’s outer limits.


Joe Mcphee MASTERCLASS with Paul Lovens & Jean-Marc Foussat on Thursday 29 March.
KASK Conservatory
students only 
In collaboration with Hannes Verhoustraete and Cassette for Timescapes.

Joshua Abrams & Natural Information Society

Joshua Abrams’s rich tone and centering way with a groove have kept him in demand as a bassist since moving to Chicago in the mid-90s. He has participated in endeavours as diverse as Town & Country’s rustic chamber minimalism, grounding Prefuse 73’s jump-cut grooves, backing Sam Prekop and Bonnie Prince Billy, and playing with jazz greats like Fred Anderson and Roscoe Mitchell. His versatility and acuity have found even more poetic expression since he took up the guimbri, a three-stringed North African bass lute commonly used by Gnawan musicians. Its sonorities suit his aim to develop “music that focuses on continuance”, sealing melody and groove into a single hypnotic force that powers compositions as inspired by Don Cherry and Sun Ra as they are by American minimalism and ceremonial Gnawa music. The body of music Abrams has developed for his guimbri concerts are presented under the name Natural Information Society which involves a shifting line-up of musicians. On this occasion Abrams will be accompanied by Lisa Alvarado on harmonium, Ben Boye on autoharp and Mikel Avery on drums.