UK-based musician Massimo Magee is relatively certain that this was the first free jazz concert made in a virtual venue. His innovative new album, Live in the Metaverse (to Evan Parker and John Coltrane), is defined by this sense of confident and playful originality. Magee recorded this performance by streaming live into a room called The OctoBar—a virtual performance space designed by his friend Alexander Feder—the tracks are riddled with the sounds of a slightly broken streaming signal: clicks, bleeps, pops, and other inexplicable noise that Magee suggests is akin to the ambience of a live performance, anything that might otherwise interrupt his smoothly-executed, extended clarinet solo.
Opening with the short, reverb-focused track, “The Way In” gives the album a mystical, dazzling ambience and plenty of intentional electronic manipulation. It quickly gives way to “The Bout,” a 40-minute track for a conceptually simple performance that remains surprisingly throughout, allowing Magee to improvise over the layers of his unintentional broadcast delays and reverberations.
The project is deeply inventive and beautifully performed, offering a new interpretation of live music’s possibilities on a virtual platform, and what Magee affirms is a “gesture of insistence that the spiritual mission of this music will (and must) continue, in spite of whatever obstacles may present themselves, materially or mentally, in the time to come.”
This solo album joins Magee’s other 577 Records’ productions, with Tony Irving – Vitriol and the Third Oraculum (577 Records, 2020), the live recording of the Cyclone Trio – Cataclysm… Live at Cafe Oto (Orbit577, 2020) and precedes the December release of the Cyclone Trio – Electric (Orbit577, 2020).
To be featured on World of Jazz 422