A tremendous look at the early years of the legendary Joe McPhee – a set that's based around his classic Nation Time
album, and which features other live material from the same time
– including a Hat Hut album, and two CDs' worth of previously unissued work! The core album is legendary – a gritty set that features a mighty funky drummer, and some of the most soulful work that Joe ever recorded. Joe plays tenor and trumpet in sweet lineup that features bubbling organ, vamping rhythms, and some sweet modal elements mixed together in percussion, guitar, and Fender Rhodes. Titles include the hard wailing "Nation Time
" – plus "Shakey Jake", an excellent 13 minute funk number – and the moodier "Scorpio's Dance". Next is the searing Black Magic Man album – an early release on the Hat Hut label, but recorded during the same December 1970 performance as Nation Time
– almost showing the bolder, freer sound of the group – but still coming across with some surprising soulful elements too. The original album is expanded by the addition of the unreleased "Song For Lauren" alternate takes – and the core record includes "Black Magic Man", "Hymn Of The Dragon Kings", and "Song For Lauren". The next two CDs feature material recorded in 1969 and 1970 – at Vassar and in Poughkeepsie – with Joe and group working through some similar spiritual and soul jazz territory as on the Vassar CD issue from the same label. The music is heavy on elements you'd hear from the Nation Time
album – Hammond, guitar, and even some electric bass and vibes – used in styles that run from soul jazz, to modal, to more experimental – all on very long tracks that have McPhee really stretching out on tenor and trumpet! Titles include "Cold Sweat", "Breakaway Theme", "Untitled", "Nation Time
", "Sunshower", "Spring Street", and "Contemplation". All 4CDs come in very cool LP sleeves, in a slipcover box, a 60 page booklet of notes, photos, and information on the music!