Wadada Leo Smith & Louis Moholo-Moholo: Ancestors (2012)
Both musicians accumulated extensive experience with the duo format. Smith, mainly with drummers: Ed Blackwell on The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer (Kabell, 2010); Gunter Baby Sommer on Wisdom in Time (Clean Feed, 2007)n and Adam Rudolph on Compassion (Meta, 2006), to name a few. Moholo-Moholo, with pianistsIrene Schweizer (Intakt, 1987), Cecil Taylor on Remembrance (FMP, 1989), and Marilyn Crispell with Sibanye (We Are One) (Intakt, 2008), also among many others. Yet this fresh-sounding collaboration between two exceptional artists conveys ancient truths and potent wisdom with passion, grace and compassion.
The first duet is Smith's dedication to Moholo-Moholo. It is a poetic and ritual invocation for his unique usage of space and time in his drumming language. Smith's muted trumpet sound is reserved and lyrical, while Moholo-Moholo encompasses it with subtle touches on the traps. On "No Name In The Street, James Baldwin," referring to the writer who was a role model for Smithas an artist who is committed to a just society is a conversational piece where both Smith and Moholo-Moholo respond and challenge each other's flow of musical ideas.
"Jackson Pollock-Action" is a free improvisation that corresponds with the manner in which the late painter created and improvised his art, in the present moment without preconceived notions. Both Smith and Moholo-Moholo highlight series of ideas, rhythms, stories and colors with their rich musical vocabularies. Moholo-Moholo's dedication to his father, "Siholaro," is reverential and festive in its spirit, a cry of yearning, yet also a call of great love.
The 25-minute spontaneous improvisation of the title piece, with a basic five-part structure, is a fiery meeting of adventurous minds. The interplay is full of wonders, telepathic and playful. In its last percussive part, Moholo-Moholo is featured, chanting his loving dedications to other creative musiciansamong them his late musical partners Mongezi Feza, Dudu Pukwana and Chris McGregorfollowing Smith's belief that creativity begets creativity.
A magical musical journey that calls for following chapters.
Track Listing: Moholo-Moholo/Golden Spirit; No Name In The Street, James Baldwin; Jackson Pollock - Action; Siholaro; Ancestors.
Personnel: Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet and percussion; Louis Moholo-Moholo: drums, percussion and voice.
Record Label: TUM Records
Style: Modern Jazz