Moses Taiwa Molelekwa: Genes And Spirits
Take 24-year-old South African pianist Moses for example. He grew up in Tembisa - a township near enough to Jo'burg to make the contrasts painfully stark - listening to Parker, Miles and the fifties canon of immortals on wickedly expensive vinyl passed around like scripture from one believer to another. But all around him was the potent influence of Hugh Masekela, Abdullah Ibrahim, Kippie Moketsi and Dudu Pukwana, and it's an updated version of their magical integration of late 20th century African harmonies, melodies and rhythms into modern jazz that Moses is after.
His latest for the "no boundaries" M.E.L.T. 2000 label - which specialises in modern music from Southern Africa - is a delightful dip into a barrel filled with seductive influences. Moses has layered Cuba (with celebrated Cuban pianist Chucho Valdes as mentor), Brazil (Flora Plurim's unmistakeable vocalisations), the Cameroon (funked up by Brice Wassy's infectious time-keeping), and even Bristol (just a lickle drum'n'bass from somewhere...) over his own instinctive township feels. The resultant blends are so cheering I think Taiwa's left hand could probably heal the sick - or at least make them feel a sight more chirpy. Heartily recommended.
Record Label: MELT