Free or advanced jazz got its start right here in New York City during the early '60s, coalescing as a movement with 1964’s “October Revolution in Jazz”. Most of the musicians taking part in this "revolution" are still with us, continuing to make New York their home or appearing here regularly. Thus younger generations, and the layers are thick, have role models to follow, if they choose to do so. Problem is that many do not or, even worse, do so too much. Free Jazz had its roots in the abandonment of forms that preceded it, hence making those form inherently important. The best free jazzer's were students of the music. Add to the class one Ras Moshe.
Moshe is a fine, aggressive multi-instrumentalist who plays all over town; Schematic taken from a recent gig at downtown’s Roulette. Moshe sticks to tenor, which deprives the listener of his bludgeoningly delicate attack on flute and other horns. He gathers around him for this filled-to-capacity CD some of his peers of the out scene: New York newcomer Matana Roberts (alto), Reut Regev (trombone), Matt LaVelle (trumpet, bass clarinet), David Brandt (vibes), Todd Nicholson and Matt Heyner (basses), and Jackson Krall (drums).
What sets Schematic apart from many of the inferior NYC free jazz blowouts are actual compositions. What seems so simple has eluded many. Moshe uses structure as a jumping-off point for spirited musical exchange, particularly on the poignant "Habari Gana". The music never gets too frenetic, testing the mettle of the listener only by the 20+ minute lengths of the three tracks. Always having somewhere to return to keeps the soloists focused and benefits the music. Brandt’s vibes especially stick out. This is a live record with energy untranslatable to your living room or office desk. The vigor of the album may result in torn sofa cushions or a broken coffee cup. Ras Moshe would be pleased.
Please visit www.jumparts.org for more information.
This review first appeared in the November 2002 issue of All About Jazz: New York .
Personnel: Ras Moshe (tenor), Matana Roberts (alto), Reut Regev (trombone), Matt
LaVelle (trumpet, bass clarinet), David Brandt (vibes), Todd Nicholson
and Matt Heyner (basses), and Jackson Krall (drums)