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Rakalam Bob Moses: Father's Day B'hash

Raul d'Gama Rose By

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Two words that best describe the work of Rakalam Bob Moses are "ancient future." This twin epithet really requires no explanation. But it includes the suggestion that the music comes from a time and place when the aural expression of emotions was incredibly pure and extends—as if by magic—to that time and place where the reflection of all guileless aural expression will one day be attained. In 2008's Father's Day B'hash this idea comes to fruition just as it does in, for instance, Bittersuite In The Ozone (Mozown, 1975). This remarkable record became a reality in part because of a sound project by Moses' son Rafael for his studies at the Art Institute of New England.

Moses has always been in the real avant-garde of modern music and in the 1980s he came under the musical and spiritual guidance of guitarist, Tsziji Munoz, made several large ensemble records especially, When Elephants Dream of Music (Gramavision, 1982), Visit With The Great Spirit (Gramavision 1983), and the monumental The Story of Moses (Gramavision, 1987). Not very long after, Moses became "Rakalam—the inaudible sound of the invisible sun" and it appears, also became an unparalleled purveyor of aural color, following such master-colorists as especially Hermeto Pascoal, among others.

On Father's Day B'hash, Moses rises to astral heights, swirling in the realm of the same spiritual cosmos as John Coltrane and Eric Dolphy. As ever, Moses also employs his rare ability to use a form of modal painting in music. "A Pure and Simple Being" is a classic example of this, where the sound of water, log drums, kalimba, piano, and the old trap set tumble and undulate, mingle and contrast to produce a piece of memorable character. This track is an almost fluid advance from the "Duet For Violin and Squeaky Door" that precedes it.

"Exhalation," an extended work in three parts ascribed to the emotions of "Love," Fire Breath," and "Peace," especially features impressionistic woodwinds, most unforgettably the bass clarinet of Stan Strickland, and best describes the kind of son et lumiere that the music of the Rakalam has come to be. It is a wet, ever-forming canvas of picturesque sound that grows and changes with notes, chords, and heart-beat-like rhythmic dances that dapple and brighten the music of this record throughout its unfolding.

The most heartfelt emotions are the ones reserved for reverence—for example, the respect for father and son, in "Father's Day Celebration" and "Drums for Shompa Lodro," the latter being a tribute to Rakalam's father, Richard Moses. Both tracks also feature sterling performances by trumpeter and flugelhorn player, Nicole Rampersaud and violinist Andrei Matorin. From the opening, breath-like textures of "Exhalation" to the peaceful resolution of "A Pure and Simple Being" this music is a deeply spiritual gloriously textured work in Moses' continuing development.

Track Listing: Exhalation#1 (Love); Exhalation#3 (Fire Breath); Pollack Springs; Father's Day Celebration; Drums for Shompa Lodro; Exhalation#2 (Peace); Our Life; Duet for Violin and Squeaky Door; A Pure and Simple Being.

Personnel: Ommudra Thomas Arabia: tenor saxophone; Petr Cancura: tenor and soprano saxophones, wood flute; Andrei Matorin: violin; Justin Purtill: bass; Nicole Rampersaud: trumpet and flugelhorn; Luis Rosa: alto saxophone; Stan Strickland: tenor and soprano saxophones, flute, bass clarinet, and vocals; Nick Videen: alto saxophone; Rakalam Bob Moses: drums, piano, log drum, kalimba, water sounds, and squeaky door.

Title: Father's Day B'hash | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Sunnyside Records


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