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Nation Time

Rate It! Avg: 4.5 (52 ratings)
Nation Time album cover
Nation Time
Shakey Jake
Scorpio's Dance
Album Information

Total Tracks: 3   Total Length: 40:50

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Noisy and busy but with little substance


This album lacks grace and sense of direction. Instead of experimenting with textures and sound like the best free jazz musicians, McPhee has a conventional expression muddled in a sluggish groove. It's not as interesting as avant garde and not as exciting as funk. This album is noisy, mediocre and utterly boring. Avoid.

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not for freakout free jazz fans alone


mcphee is known, for good reason, as one of the great free jazz instrumentalists in the world. and this is a great free jazz album. but free jazz ain't for everyone, I realize that. do not let the label scare you off. This is a great funk album, a great jam album, a great rock album (and a great free jazz album). This album is simply a soulful ton o' fun. It's as badass as the soul brother suit McPhee is wearing on the timeless album cover.

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Nonstop jazz funk explosion


The title track starts off a little rough, but once the groove gets going it's unstoppable. _Shakey Jake_ is the best piece, starting off on the right foot and staying amazing throughout. The last track is also great.

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lovely noise


one of my all time favorite albums. the first two tracks are the perfect blend of funk and noise. You dont need to be an avant garde purist to know what time it is

They Say All Music Guide

Tenor saxophonist Joe McPhee has been a cult figure in the jazz world despite a string of releases on the visible Hat Art label and vocal support from the likes of Ken Vandermark. Nation Time is good evidence why. Its three tracks were recorded live in December 1970 and released the following year on the tiny independent CjR Records. “Nation Time” and “Scorpio’s Dance” feature McPhee with a quintet that mixes electric and acoustic instruments with dual percussionists. In a way, this is familiar territory, working Coltrane-inspired repetitions and a nearly reckless group interplay against a variety of musical textures. Here some electric piano or full-speed drumming, there roughly wailed sax or a trumpet pushing notes to a near drone. But no matter how familiar the approach, the end result is inventive and captivating as these two pieces shift from nearly conventional extended improvisations to less structured sound without ever sounding forced.
However, it’s the 13-minute “Shakey Jake” that seems like the birth of a wonderful new style that unfortunately never went any further. With the quintet expanded by an alto sax, organist, and electric guitarist, McPhee gets busy marrying free jazz to James Brown funk or maybe creating a vision of what would have happened if early-’60s Coltrane had revisited his R&B youth. The band sets up a complex but danceable groove while the soloists surf along, twisting melodies and pushing the beat but never relying on repeated riffs. Despite their various ideas and overlapped solos, the effect is collaborative not competitive as if they realized what a rare experience this would be. – Lang Thompson

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