Louis Moholo-Moholo Quintet: London, UK, March 17, 2011

John Sharpe By

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In spite of his leadership role, Moholo-Moholo didn't feel the need to take a drum solo. Instead, he toyed with forms, easing in and out of intensifying firestorms with a light touch. Change was demarcated through freely wielding subtle, splashing cymbals, clattering rim shots and an insistent bass drum, without the need to pile on the power. There was no bass spot for Brice either, though on occasion he did step out at the forefront of the piano trio, getting away from the propulsive throb which was his stock in trade.

Alexander Hawkins

But it was the glorious ensemble play, evolving out of the tunes/structures into more uncharted terrain, which stuck in the mind. As they neared the end of the second set the renditions from Moholo-Moholo's repertoire became shorter and more intense, among them his old comrade from the Blue Notes, trumpeter Mongezi Feza's "You Ain't Gonna Know Me 'Cos You Think You Know Me," from the drummer's classic Spirits Rejoice (Ogun, 1978). Even though there was consequently less room for the wilder extemporizations, you couldn't begrudge them their crowd-pleasing fun.

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John Sharpe


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