3

Wadada Leo Smith / Louis Moholo-Moholo: Ancestors

John Sharpe By

Sign in to view read count
Wadada Leo Smith / Louis Moholo-Moholo: Ancestors 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 Jack DeJohnette. Now, with South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo, he has added a fifth, recorded in Finland in early 2011.

Over a long career, Moholo has proved himself a fantastic improviser, both sensitive and selfless; witness his wonderful pairing with pianist Marilyn Crispell on Sibanye (We Are One) (Intakt, 2008). He brings that same sensibility to this date, allied with an orchestral conception which finds him carefully deploying the component parts of his kit to construct a rhythmic latticework which both supports and challenges the trumpeter. For his part, Smith masterfully utilizes space and silence, along with pure-toned fanfares mixed with buzzing frayed edges and breathy susurrations, sometimes all within a single piece.

Together the duo crafts an understated program which features compositions from each alongside two spontaneous creations. The two establish an extraordinary colloquy from the off on "Moholo-Moholo/Golden Spirit," where Smith's delicate tip toeing muted trumpet unfurls tightly coiled melodies against a backdrop of cymbal swishes, punctuated by regular accented crashes, evoking thoughts of breathing and heartbeats. Later on Moholo's elegiac "Siholaro," dedicated to his father, the American rides the wave of a pulsing one-man drum choir. But it is the expansive title track, a five-part suite, improvised within a preconceived structure, where everything comes together. Framed by two percussion duets, the veteran pair conducts a perfectly formed dialogue, with Smith channeling varying trumpet voices atop an insistent tattoo. During the final selection, Moholo intones the names of musical heroes, past and present, including "Sonny Rollins, we love you....you don't have to love us, we love you." On this showing it would be hard for anyone not to reciprocate.

Track Listing: Moholo-Moholo/Golden Spirit; No Name In The Street, James Baldwin; Jackson Pollock, Action; Siholaro; Ancestors.

Personnel: Wadada Leo Smith: trumpet, percussion; Louis Moholo-Moholo: drums, percussion, voice.

Title: Ancestors | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: TUM Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall) CD/LP/Track Review Inspirations (featuring Matthew Halsall)
by Phil Barnes
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Unification CD/LP/Track Review Unification
by Troy Dostert
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Crossing CD/LP/Track Review Crossing
by Geno Thackara
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Unit[e] CD/LP/Track Review Unit[e]
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Transparent Water" CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Jungle: Live At Okuden" CD/LP/Track Review Jungle: Live At Okuden
by John Sharpe
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "Abbey Road Sessions, Vol 1" CD/LP/Track Review Abbey Road Sessions, Vol 1
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: September 25, 2016
Read "Vol. 02" CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 02
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Closer Than Before" CD/LP/Track Review Closer Than Before
by Mark Sullivan
Published: October 14, 2016
Read "Cinema Spiral" CD/LP/Track Review Cinema Spiral
by John Sharpe
Published: August 9, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.