Charles McPherson: The Journey

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Charles Mcpherson
ALBUM TITLE: The Journey
PERFORMER: Charles McPherson, Keith Oxman (flute, saxophone), Chip Stephens (piano) etc


There’s a nice anecdote about saxist Gene Quill who, hearing a member of the audience dismiss him as merely a Charlie Parker imitator, shoved his alto under the offender’s nose and challenged, ‘Here, you imitate Charlie Parker’. McPherson, not quite 16 when Parker died, was one of a generation of alto sax players routinely blessed/cursed by being lauded as ‘the new Parker’ or dismissed as a Parker copyist. Consequently, he has not been appreciated as much as he deserves, despite a fruitful 12-year association with Charles Mingus and many fine recordings before and since.

This album was recorded a few weeks before McPherson’s 75th birthday. Although he may not have the full power of earlier days, the vitality and agility of his playing belies what the calendar says. A clutch of pleasing originals and a couple of bebop classics give this inter-generational band the chance to show its paces to enjoyable effect.


Barry Witherden