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StLJN Saturday Video Showcase: Cooper-Moore, Joshua Abrams & Hamid Drake


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This week, let's check out some videos featuring multi-instrumentalists Cooper-Moore, Joshua Abrams, and Hamid Drake, who will be teaming up for a show presented by New Music Circle next Saturday, May 26 at Off Broadway.

All three are veterans of the international creative music scene who have performed in St. Louis previously in different ensembles.

Most recently, Drake played here with violinist Iva Bittová last year; with fellow percussionist Adam Rudolph in 2016; and, along with Cooper-Moore, as part of bassist William Parker's band In Order To Survive in 2013. For his part, Abrams- who, like Drake, is based in Chicago- played a show here for New Music Circle in 2014 with his band Natural Information Society.

NMC has brought them together specifically for this concert, so there's really no video available of the three of them as an ensemble. Instead, today's collection of clips features performances from each of them that may provide some insights into their individual styles and potential ways of interacting.

The first video up above features Cooper-Moore playing solo piano for just short of half an hour, recorded in December 2017 in NYC.

After the jump, you can see him speaking briefly and then playing balafon on a piece called “Emancipation," recorded in May 2017 in the studios of WBGO in Newark, NJ.

A larger version of the same instrument turns up in the third video, which features Hamid Drake on drums and percussion and Aly Keita on balafon in an excerpt from a set at the 2017 Sant'Anna Arresi Jazz Festival 2017.

Below that, you can see an entire solo set by Drake, recorded in September 2013 at the Festival Isole che Parlano in the island nation Palau.

The fifth video is a brief clip of Joshua Abrams recorded solo in 2012 on a Chicago rooftop, in which he's playing guimbri, a West African lute that's his go-to instrument when he's not playing bass.

The sixth and final video shows him playing both guimbri and bass in a scaled-down, touring version of Natural Information Society, with Lisa Alvarado on harmonium and Frank Rosaly on drums. It's a a full set of music, recorded in April 2015 at the Tarcento Jazz Festival in Italy.

For more about these three musicians, you can read Cooper-Moore's 2017 interview with the Free Jazz Blog; Abrams' interview with Bandcamp.com, also from 2017, and the interview with Drake published in 2015 by a site called The Attic.

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