Song for the Big Chief

by Joe McPhee & Paal Nilssen-Love

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Knox 13:43


The duo of Paal Nilssen-Love and Joe McPhee has been an on-going adventure in sound for the last 15 years. The two started playing together when McPhee joined The Thing on tour in 2002, and that was the start of numerous collaboration and constellations over the years. Out of those projects the two started performing as a duo, exploring ideas and the kind of immediate dialogue only the duo format allows.

The previous release by the duo was the “Candy” 7xCD box-set in 2015, which documented their developement from 2007 to 2014. Such a massive document perhaps signaled that it was a last statement, and there has not been any releases from the duo since then, but lack of releases does not equal lack of activity – and with “Song for the Big Chief” they finally return.

“Song for the Big Chief” has a special back story to it: On December 9th 2017 the duo was scheduled to play Cafe Oto in London. They day before the concert news came that legendary drummer Sunny Murray had passed away. Murray’s importance in the world of music can not be overrated, and for both McPhee and Nilssen-Love Murray had been a huge influence and inspiration, and in the introduction to the concert McPhee made the announcement that tonight’s performance would be in honour to the memory of one the great giants of free music. True to Murray’s spirit this didn’t meaning playing a night of cover tunes, but creating new sounds and pushing the music into the future.

Music fans will recognize the title and visual references on the cover to Sunny Murray’s classic 1969 album “Big Chief”.


released October 4, 2019

Joe McPhee: tenor saxophone and pocket trumpet.
Paal Nilssen-Love: drums & percussion.

“Old Man River by” by Kern/Hammerstein (Universal Polygram Int Pub Inc). “Knox” by Joe Mcphee (Tuhtah Pub Suisa.)
“A Fantasy for Lester” by Joe McPhee (JOMAC Publishing) and Paal Nilssen-Love (TONO).

Recorded live in concert by
Shaun Crook at Cafe Oto, London, England on the 9th of December 2017. Mixed and mastered by Lasse Marhaug.


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PNL Records Oslo, Kingdom of Norway

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PNL Records was started in 2007 by Norwegian jazz drummer Paal Nilssen-Love to release his recordings as a solo artist, with his big band Large Unit, and in collaborations with other artists.

We offer digital downloads of most PNL releases as well as CD, vinyl and other merch on PNL and other labels, all featuring Paal.
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