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Wadada Leo Smith & Louis Moholo-Moholo: Ancestors

Mark Corroto By

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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 Gunter 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 of the glorified body.

Together, Smith and Moholo-Moholo meld into one, the trumpet often imitating the human voice and, for the heartbeat, the drums.

Both musicians, comfortable in large ensemble settings, excel here in these intimate surroundings. Smith composed two tracks to Moholo-Moholo's one, with two improvisations rounding out the session. Are the drums influenced by Moholo- Moholo's South African roots? Certainly. He keeps a constant heartbeat pulse throughout, centering this recording on the humane, with compassionate strokes. This isn't a competition between the pair, it's more of an affaire de cœur.

The ease of the opening "Moholo-Moholo/Golden Spirit," a leisurely stroll with muted trumpet and bass drum, gives way to the snappy snare rolls of "No Name In The Street, James Baldwin," with Smith blurting and blatting exclamatory statements into the air. Where others might utilize the tug of trading notes, these two simply build upon each other's sound. The drummer's "Siholaro" rumbles as thunder while Smith is at his most lyrical. The highlight of this disc is the five-part, 25-minute improvisation, "Ancestors." Begun with chimes and shakers, the piece transmogrifies into a spoken homage to jazz masters, from saxophonist Sonny Rollins to drummer Han Bennink.

The duo of Wadada Leo Smith and Louis Moholo-Moholo creates a warmhearted session that doesn't spare the beautiful.

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


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