Decoy with Joe McPhee
(Cafe Oto. 21 July 2023, 3rd night of 4. Live review, drawing and photo by Geoff Winston)
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“We’re going to do our best to make the biggest mess we can make!” pronounced legendary American tenor saxophonist Joe McPhee, who was guesting with the British power trio, Decoy. Together, they performed two fine sets .
Decoy, Alex Hawkins (on Hammond), Steve Noble (drums) and John Edwards (bass) were great – especially in the second set where they jumped in to the cauldron, just going for it! That set had everything – and they were really treading out of the zone – freedom, invention, scintillating playing and great sound. they opened the door to let the magic in.
Raw, fresh, each contributing their unique expression – yet not disconnected from the core as they hinted at the odd standard, with Hawkins pulling it back to the jazzy-bluesey B3 sound- touches of Groove Holmes and Wild Bill Davis, then flying off to subtly placed Sun Ra bleepery
McPhee was going for it in bursts – blasting Brötzmann-like – a reminder of the time he was the star at a completely unforgettable Brötzmann tentet gig at Oto in 2011 (REVIEWED HERE)
Bassist Edwards very well miked-up to catch every nuance and at time sounding almost like a sax when bowing, and Noble sailing over all his kit, delicate tapped phrases, metallic gong rings and echoes and then crashing in unison with Decoy’s power surges. There was even an encore with controlled skidding all over the place and a very happy McPhee, all smiles at the close.