Remembrance is on the reactivated CJR label, the label that issued the first four releases under McPhee's name. Recorded at the 2001 Earshot Festival in Seattle this set puts McPhee in a trio with two long-time collaborators: French guitarist Raymond Boni and Seattle (now New York) bassist Michael Bisio. Despite the fact that Bisio and Boni have rarely played together, they have a simpatico relationship. McPhee sticks mostly to soprano with some pocket trumpet. There are some balance problems with Bisio at times buried in the mix, odd for such a strong player.
This title track, in two parts, starting with the faintest of sounds emanating from Bisio's bowed bass, is a 40-minute free improv that wends its way through many peaks and valleys. Separating the two parts of Remembrance are two tracks. One is a poem written and read by Seattle-based poet Paul R. Harding. The poem is rife with jazz imagery accompanied by sparks from Boni's guitar. The other is an arco tour-de-force solo by Bisio. When Remembrance (Closing) begins, McPhee is on trumpet blowing high arcing phrases. He soon picks up his soprano and starts pecking out Blue Monk. A very intense version ensues taking the performance to its seeming conclusion. But there's a five minute coda of acappella saxophone that starts quietly and gets progressively quieter until the last few wispy notes drift into the ether. It's a remarkable ending to a remarkable performance.