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Album Review

Charnett Moffett: New Love

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Charnett Moffett: New Love
If one thing is obvious from this CD, it is that electric bassist Charnett Moffett is a happy man these days. His playing leaps out of the speakers on these tracks with joy and high spirits. That may be because he works here in the company of his "new love," his wife, guitarist Jana Herzen. The two of them bounce, dance and wiggle their instruments together on twelve wide-ranging tracks which take in funk, reggae, folk, and psychedelia, always exuding a close-knit harmonic chemistry.

Moffett's bubbling bass lines are often the lead voice in music sometimes reminiscent of the harmolodic funk Ornette Coleman explored with his electric band, Prime Time. However he and Herzen work their magic on a greater variety of tempos and approaches. They high step through fast jams on "Swinging in the Realms" and "Flying in the Air," skip through a childlike melody on "Little Flowers," and entwine in hip bluesy swing on "We Remember." They also play slower contemplative lines on "I Didn't Know" beside Irwin Hall's yearning tenor sax, and walk a spacier path on "Higher Dimensions" with Janzen's guitar pealing and twisting against rapid-fire bass bursts. Throughout all of this Corey Garcia's heavy-on-the-cymbals drumming maintains a loose and energetic rhythmic foundation which gives the married couple plenty of space to cut their capers.

Malick Koly takes over the drum seat for "ETQ," a gritty tribal dance wherein Moffett takes a back seat to Hall blowing serpentine soprano sax and Herzen popping, plucking and adding wah-wah effects. This track sounds like a funk-laden James Blood Ulmer hoedown.

On the last four tracks, Moffett and Herzen add their singing to the joyous mix. Their voices are natural and gentle and in the context of this music they add an emotional dimension close to that which Albert Ayler's vocals brought to his final recordings. These tracks are a fluttery love song ,"New Love," featuring Hall on flute, the easy reggae groove of "Bride & Spirit Song," the swashbuckling Mexican-Jamaican chug of "Love for the People" and the ending valedictory burst of "Rejoice," with Moffett and Herzen singing "Rejoice" over and over against laughing, jubilant bass and guitar runs.

This record overflows with optimism and warmth conveyed through the boiling joy of Moffett's bass and the glistening responses from Herzen's guitar. The pair put out a rich sound full of spirituality and positive emotion. This is one of the most unashamedly happy sets of music to appear in a long time.

Track Listing

Swinging in the Realms; We Remember; Little Flowers; Today; Higher Dimensions; I Didn't Know; Flying in the Air; ETQ; New Love; Spirit & Bride Song; Love for the People; Rejoice.

Personnel

Charnett Moffett: bass; Jana Herzen: guitar; Corey Garcia: drums; Malick Koly: drums; Irwin Hall: saxophone.

Additional Instrumentation

Charnett Moffett: vocals (9-12); Jana Herzen: vocals (10-12); Corey Garcia: (1-7,9,10,12}; Malick Koly (8, 11); Irwin Hall: tenor saxophone (6,7,11), soprano saxophone (8,11); alto flute (9).

Album information

Title: New Love | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Motéma Music


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