A fascinating recording, The Art of Improvisation is as mysterious as it is a showcase for the formidable bass playing skills of its leader Charnett Moffett; his playing on electric and acoustic basses has a grounded, vocal qualityhe always seems to be singing through his instruments.
Even when he is playing a fusillade of notes (and Moffett does have fleet fingers), the feel of various folk musics (Asian, Middle Eastern, African, even Celtic) are invoked, as heard through both parts of "Enlightenment." "Part I" starts with a floating, meditative mood, building in speed and emotional intensity over a pedal tone. "Part II" becomes a duet of bass and drums, using the melodic materials of "Part I" in an approach similar to that of a sitar/tabla duet.
Moffett's bass again sings a duet with Tibetan vocalist Yunchen Lhamo on "Call for Peace," a striking track of such sincerity it begs for more. "Dream," another fascinating composition, features a poet's recitation over a sonic landscape that sounds as if it could have been recorded in the '60s or '70sa cross between the Last Poets and music found at the Creative Music Studio. The title track, of course reminds listeners of Ornette Coleman's 1961 album, The Art of the Improvisers; Charnett, after all, is a contraction of Charlesas in drummer Charles Moffett, his fatherand Ornette, Charles Moffett's boss circa 1965. And the bassist's version of the "Star Spangled Banner" convincingly revives the spirit of Hendrix's Woodstock version of the national anthem.
Moffett doesn't take the usual route of making a recording that's a concise collection of tunes. He stretches out on his basses more than any other bassist/bandleader dares to. And though Moffett can remind one of Jaco Pastorius, James Jamerson, Milt Hinton, Charlie Haden, Stanley Clarke or an Edgar Meyernone would have made an album with this kind of directness.
Track Listing: We Pray; Moses; The Story; Dreams; Elements of Life; Call for Peace; The Awakening; Swing Rock; Enlightenment Part l; Enlightenment ll; The Art of Improvisation; Star Spangled Banner.
Personnel: Charnett Moffett: basses; Will Calhoun: drums Yungchen Lhamo: vocal; Scott Brown: piano; Pat Jones: guitar. Steve Barnes: guitar. Eric McPherson: drums. Charnette Max Moffett: drums. Robert Joseph Avalon: trumpet.
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds
I love jazz because I was born and raised here in America, and it is one of the most significant cultural contributions we have given to the world. It is an incredibly sophisticated artform that continues to challenge boundaries while delighting and engaging listeners of all different ages and backgrounds. I love how jazz can involve musicians who may have never met each other can coming together and making incredible music by referring to the Great American Songbook and musicians who have been playing together for years, who have a deep connection and who explore and create original music that is at the cutting edge of musical innovation in every sense. Performing jazz music requires a virtuosity and technique that only strict discipline can teach as well as a spontaneity and playfulness that reflects the simple folk roots of the music.
I was first exposed to jazz as a student in college. Only knowing I wanted to play guitar, I enrolled in an applied music program that focused on Jazz rhythm section playing. The subsequent journey that I have been on since the time that I enrolled in that class has helped me grow not only as a musician but more so as a person.