Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo are grand old men in the annals of adventurous jazz, having played in a dizzying variety of settings through more than five decades. More to the point, both have amply shown a capacity for nuanced playing in demanding, interactive improvisational formats. An intimate duet performance by the pair, featured on Ancestors--sensitively recorded by Suikki Jääskä in Finland in February 2011--is thus a sure thing. The question is whether the result will exceed excellence and achieve sublimity. To put the matter metaphorically: will this be merely a sparkling tête-à-tête between two brilliant conversationalists, ...read more
The title of this remarkable album says it all. American trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo are two forefathers of modern jazz, innovative musicians who redefined the practices of their instruments and the connections between the Afro-American, African and European jazz legacies-- creative composers and esteemed bandleaders for nearly five decades and role models for generations of musicians. So, this musical meeting between these two masters, their first as a duo, was bound to happen. Thanks to the Finnish TUM label said meeting was documented beautifully. Both musicians accumulated extensive experience with the ...read more
The Theology of the Body is an integrated vision of the human person as body, soul, and spirit. Attending the church of jazz, this amalgamation can be best illustrated+ with improvisation and, if so, this duo of trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith and drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo is a sacred meeting.Following the previous releases of Smith's duos with drummers Günter “Baby" Sommer on Wisdom In Time (Intakt, 2007), Adam Rudolph on Compassion (Meta/Kabell, 2006), Jack DeJohnette with America (Tzadik, 2007) and Ed Blackwell (from 1986) on The Blue Mountain's Sun Drummer (Kabell, 2010), this current 2011 session invokes the spirit ...read more
There is a natural fit between drums and trumpet. It stretches back all the way into prehistory, with the shamanistic combination of animal horns and percussive devices, persisting up until the early twentieth century in military drum and bugle corps who passed signals and directed troop movement. That synergy continues to bear artistic fruit to the present day in jazz, nowhere more so than in the work of distinguished trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith. He already numbers four such meetings in an extensive discography, including standouts on Wisdom In Time (Intakt, 2007), with Gunter Baby Sommer, and America (Tzadik, 2009), with ...read more
Accidents are part and parcel of any kind of improvised music. Such occurrences can be fickle things with a capacity to make or break a situation. So, when Chris McGregor was prevented from joining the first night of a Dutch tour by The Blue Notes in 1979, Louis Moholo-Moholo, Dudu Pukwana and Johnny Dyani embraced the accidental non-appearance of their pianist colleague and took to the stage. Another accident, though admittedly much happier one, was the presence of tenor saxophonist, Frank Wright, who happened to be in Eindhoven on the same night and available to join the ...read more
Louis Moholo-Moholo QuintetThe VortexLondon, UKMarch 17, 2011 As George the besuited MC said in his introduction, when you saw the lineup you knew this was not one to miss. And the packed audience at north London's Vortex was testament to the fact that his view was widely shared. Even though South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo remains a frequent visitor to London since relocating to his homeland on a permanent basis, his visits are still something special. Instead of his regular unit, tonight's personnel had more the appearance of a blowing band, with both saxophone ...read more
Only once in a great while does a recording come along that influences my thoughts on creativity, sound and spirituality in music. Sibanye (We Are One), duets with Louis Moholo-Moholo and Marilyn Crispell, is one of those recordings. Confronted with the racist oppression of apartheid in South Africa, Moholo-Moholo immigrated to Europe in 1964 and became a significant influence on the direction of jazz and creative music in Great Britain and throughout Europe. Now at the age of 68, he continues to create music that celebrates the spirit of freedom while Sibanye (We Are One) also provides a ...read more
When the Blue Notes--pianist Chris McGregor, drummer Louis Moholo, bassist Johnny Dyani, trumpeter Mongezi Feza and altoist Dudu Pukwana--brought their mixture of bebop and kwela from South Africa to England in 1967, it didn't take long for the quintet to join forces with some of the more adventurous players in London, a mutually beneficial climate that allowed them to take in freedoms which echoed their wayfaring experiences. The Blue Notes were more collective than their billing as a Chris McGregor group" might lend itself to, but they were also unique individual players. Moholo was in demand as a sideman not ...read more
Here's one meeting of refined minds that doesn't result in complacency. Drummer Moholo-Moholo, (known formerly by just the single surname) and pianist Marilyn Crispell have put in countless hours fashioning music from out of nothing other than the moment. They bring that wealth of experience to bear here in music which is by turns joyously unpredictable and provoked into being by the imperative of that moment.
The opening Improvise, Don't Compromise" reads like a manifesto commitment, albeit one far less dispensable than the empty promises of politicians. It's also the sound of two musicians coming together. Crispell is almost tentative ...read more
"It's all about freedom man," says drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo and the softness in his voice belies and underpins the experience behind his words. It becomes really important, the most important thing in the world, especially after all I've been through."The telephone connection to South Africa is not great, from where Moholo-Moholo speaks, where he was born and has again made his home since 2005. It has indeed been a long journey, Moholo-Moholo having left his homeland in 1964 with the racially integrated Blue Notes, finally settling in London in 1966. His role in the international big band Brotherhood ...read more
There was a ripple of surprise last year when Stan Tracey and Evan Parker's Suspensions and Anticipations was released, on Parker's own Psi label. These eleven free improvisations presented a rarely-seen side of Stan Tracey. True, he had recorded free improvisations with his quartet as early as 1964, but the meeting with Parker took him deeper into improv territory than ever before. In the event, the album was best summed by Parker's own closing comment on the recording, Amazing!
Now comes Khumbula (Remember), another album of duo improvisations, pairing Tracey with master drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo, and produced ...read more
Former Brotherhood of Breath drummer Louis Moholo and British free-form acoustic guitarist Roger Smith lay their cards out on the table during this extremely attractive studio set. Essentially, neither man acts as an antagonist here. It's more about intrinsic communication, topped off with acutely enacted improvisations featuring great depth and variable rhythmic maneuvers. Moholo's complex drumming parameters are counterbalanced with his alternating use of small percussion instruments. They pursue mechanisms for altering flows and pulses in areas where Smith's buzzing lines or fervent strumming sequences parallel Moholo's asymmetrical movements.
The duo tones it down in spots. For example, ...read more
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