Bassist extraordinaire Charnett Moffett has mined all his musical and familial influences in his latest release, For the Love of Peace, which enjoyed an official and successful CD release event at Jazz Standard a few months back. Joining him on the disc is the Moffett Family Band featuring brothers Codaryl Cody Moffett (drums/percussion) and Mondre Moffett (trumpet/ fluegelhorn), sister Charisse (vocals) and wife Angela (spoken word). Pianist Scott Brown plays on most tracks sharing the duties with J.S. (presumably executive producer Jessica Shih).
The disc opener, "In the Beginning," is a raga-influenced symphonic intro. Charnett starts bowed, soloing then plucking with a flamenco sensibility as Cody supplies the rattlesnake percussion. "I Love the Lord," in thematic and musical structure, rings similar to John Coltrane's "Acknowledgement" down to the mantra-like chanting of the title. "Numbers," an impressionistic burner, opens with a drum riff from Cody, after which Mondre sprints out of the box with a skittering, shrieking trumpet, pulling Charnett and Scott Brown in tow. The leader bows up high notes, sawing away like a man possessed as Brown and Cody race to keep up. "Free Spirit" finds Charnett on the electric fretless bass, Mondre on flugelhorn and Cody playing brushes like a boxer hitting the speed bag, everyone improvising off the melody.
"Go Placidly" is a spoken word, life-affirming blueprint recited by Angela and accompanied by a driving rhythm centered on Mondre's muted trumpet. Charnett employs an unusual technique on "The Shepherd" which could be described as playing "pizziarco" - that is, striking the bass bow against the strings instead of plucking them or playing straight arco. Cody's parade march drumming sets the tone as does Mondre's soulful trumpet solo, while Charisse murmurs in the background. "Who Took My Shopping Cart?," a poem by Shih and recited by Angela with additional vocalizing by Charisse, is set to music by bassist Charnett. The poem is told from the point of view of a homeless woman and shows how "ordinary" and "meaningless" are such relative terms.
As though we've entered a jazz club in the middle of a set, "Spirit of Blues" fades in just in time to get a snapshot of Mondre's dynamic trumpet, followed by a surprisingly upbeat and spirited piece - "Mercy and Grace." There's more great trumpeting from Mondre, slick piano playing by Brown, excellent brushwork by Cody and the usual strong pizzicato from Charnett, who returns to the fretless bass and shares dialogue with Brown on "The Movement of Freedom." Mondre gradually insinuates himself into the conversation, note by note, until becoming a full-fledged interlocutor in a hot three-way debate leading up to the title track, an impassioned East-Indian based three-part solo tour de force by Charnett who explores every dimension of the bass to express his love of music and his hope for humanity.
In the Beginning; I Love the Lord; Numbers; Free Spirit; Go Placidly; The Calling; The Shepherd; Forgiven; Who Took My Shopping Cart; Prayer; Spirit of Blues; Mercy and Grace; The Movement of Freedom; For the Love of Peace.
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