While it has grown common for rock bands to record on cassette decks in houses, jazz artists still tend to capture their work in studios. In 1976, before most rock bands recorded themselves at home, Poughkipsee-based Joe McPhee recorded his solo saxophone album Tenor at a house in Switzerland on a cassette deck. Werner X. Uehlinger of HatArt, who originally released the album, recorded the performances in a good sounding room, and the space provides an appropriate setting for McPhee's playing. His explorations of melody and sound employ a broad and inclusive approach to jazz history, and range from careful exploration of melodic variation to harsh overblown textures. The bonus live track on hatOlogy's CD reissue lacks the house's ambience but displays a similar approach to playing.
Nation Time, recorded at a concert in 1971 by Craig Johnson (whose CJR label originally reissued the album), displays a similar comfort with limited recording technologies. While McPhee's approach to melody and texture displays many similarities to Tenor, his work within the 5 and 8 piece groups on this record employs a more consistently aggressive mood. Both reissues reflect the early work of an innovative and frequently overlooked figure in American jazz who remains active today. (hatOlogy, P. O. Box 521, 4020 Basel, Switzerland / Atavistic, P. O. Box 578266, Chicago, IL 60657)