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Alma Tree: Sonic Alchemy Suprema

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Alma Tree: Sonic Alchemy Suprema
New York native Ra Kalam Bob Moses grew up in the same building as Max Roach, Art Blakey and Elvin Jones. Early on he saw performances by many of the best jazz drummers in history, including Roy Haynes, Rashied Ali, Milford Graves, Billy Higgins, and Ed Blackwell. As a teenager in the mid-1960s, he played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Moses was not only destined to be a drummer; he had soaked up a variety of jazz styles and sub-genres that lent themselves to looking beyond convention. On Sonic Alchemy Suprema, Moses introduces the trio Alma Tree consisting of three drummers/percussionists: Barcelona's Vasco Trilla, with whom Moses has recorded two albums, and Pedro Melo Alves, a force in Portugal's creative music resurgence.

In his long career, Moses has recorded or played with Larry Coryell, Gary Burton, Dave Liebman, Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow, Jack DeJohnette, Adam Berenson, Todd Rundgren, Arild Andersen and many other top artists. Trilla has recorded two dozen albums as a leader/co-leader. Among his collaborations are projects with Tim Daisy, Samo Salamon, Mars Williams, and Susana Santos Silva. Alves too has played with Silva, is a member of the Luis Vicente Trio and leads the Omniae Ensemble. He has recorded nine albums as a leader.

In this free setting, the percussionists retain the primitive form of communication within a sophisticated work of art. The deft use of gongs, cymbals and toms on "Opening," chants, hand percussion on "Alma Ra Kalam," and wooden percussion on "An Eerie Garden Sighting" provide a sense of the variety the drummers create. The trio employs complex rhythmic structures paving the way for unique musical expressions. The vast majority of these fifteen improvised pieces consist of polyrhythms and tones but they nevertheless have a musicality to them. Where the three reed players participate (on five tracks), the music takes on some reverse engineering. The saxophones and clarinet assume the role of accenting the work of the percussionists.

Alto saxophonists Joao Pedro Brandao and José Soares, and Julius Gabriel on tenor are situated left, right, and center, as are the drummers. The surround sound adds texture and a live feeling. The reed players' roles shift across the pieces; "One With Infinite Space" leans toward droning, while "Prayer" is more melodic. Brandão adds flute on the latter of the two. "Dusk To Dawn Animalia" places the sextet deep in an abstruse, free improvisation. "Dance of the Celestial Madmen" has a beautifully constructed, primordial air.

Solo drum/percussion albums are unconventional; a trio is almost unheard of. In this spontaneously created music, Moses, Trilla, and Alves avoid all the obvious pitfalls this setting presents. In the rhythmic explorations of Sonic Alchemy Suprema, the trio and their guests are transcendent, as is the diversity of the music. The artists seamlessly fuse their individual talents and formidable personalities, crafting a performance that resonates with profound and surprising interchanges.

Track Listing

Opening; One With Infinite Space; Alma Ra Kalam; An Ominous Odyssey; Prayer; An Eerie Garden Sighting; High Spirits; Dusk To Dawn Animalia; Cosmic Weaving Loom; Plate Waltzing; Alma Pedro; Animal Instinct; Dance of the Celestial Madmen; Alma Vasco; Soaring Leaf.

Personnel

Additional Instrumentation

Bob Moses: percussion; Vasco Trilla: drums; Pedro Melo Alves: percussion; João Pedro Brandão: alto saxophone, flute (2, 5, 8, 13, 15); José Soares: alto saxophone (2, 5, 8, 13, 15); Julius Gabriel: tenor saxophone (2, 5, 8, 13, 15).

Album information

Title: Sonic Alchemy Suprema | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Carimbo Porta-Jazz


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