Reviews that mention Louis Moholo-Moholo

February 11, 2016

Lvio Minafra/Louis Moholo-Moholo

Born Free
Nicipic Records Inc 2013

Ran Blake

Ghost Tones

A side 0001

Bennani/Greene/Silva/Henderson

Free Form Improvisatio Ensemble 2013

Improvising Beings ib 40

Joe McPhee

Ticonderoga

Clean Feed 345 CD

Irène Schweizer/Han Bennink

Welcome Back

Intakt 254

Something In The Air: Advanced Jazz’s Fountain of Youth

By Ken Waxman

One common shibboleth of mid-20th century creative music was that “jazz was a young man’s art”. Putting aside the sexism implicit in the statement, the idea denied jazz musicians the sort of late career acclaim that notated music masters like Pablo Casals and Vladimir Horowitz enjoyed. Times have more than changed. Expanded from the Baby Boomer cliché that “50 is the new 30”, and its upwards affiliations, career longevity is now taken for granted in all serious music. These CDs recorded by improvised musicians in their seventies attest to that. MORE

September 26, 2015

Mike Osborne

Dawn
Cuneiform RUNE 392

Phil Seamen

The Late Great

SWP 037

Participating in the transition from Jazz to Free Jazz were two British musicians who physically or mentally didn’t survive the 1970s. Individually, alto saxophonist Mike Osborne (1941-2007) and drummer Phil Seamen (1926-1972), participated in many of the define sessions that marked the definition of Jazz in the United Kingdom as a separate, non-American idiom in the 1950s and 1960s (Seamen) and the 1960s and 1970s (Osborne) and these CDs collect some of their most notable work. MORE

May 12, 2015

Louis Moholo-Moholo Unit

For The Blue Notes
Ogun Records OGCD 042

Neelamjit Dhillon Quartet

Komagata Maru

No Label No #

Rudresh Mahanthappa

Bird Calls

ACT 9581-2

Rez Abbasi Acoutic Quartet

Intents and Purposes

Enja Records ENJ-952-2

Something In The Air: Varying Definitions of Ethnic-oriented Improvised Music

By Ken Waxman

When it comes to welcoming immigrants to North America, Canada and the United States have long had different policies. To Americans the ideal is the melting pot with all foreigners persuaded to become true-blue Yanks. Modern Canada, once it shook off fealty to Britain, has long promoted multi-culturalism, where immigrants become Canadians without giving up their homeland identity. Generalities should be avoided, but it’s informative to see these concepts played out in improvised music. Thus Neelamjit Dhillon, born in Vancouver of Sikh background, has created a notable CD based on the infamous 1914 incident when 376 mostly Sikh immigrants were refused entry to Canada. To do so he mixes traditional Indian instruments with Western ones. In contrast American performers, who are his contemporaries, and with similar immigrant roots, have recorded sessions exclusively linked to the un-hyphenated jazz continuum. MORE

April 27, 2015

Louis Moholo-Moholo Quartet

4 Blokes
Ogun OGCD 043

Rarely is there a 67-minute CD that zips by as if it actually lasts 67 nanoseconds. But such is the level of elation raised by 4 Blokes that not only does it move with supersonic velocity, but you also which there was more of it.

Such is the universality of improvised music that this first recording makes it seem as if the 4 Blokes had been playing together forever. That’s a feat history makes impossible. South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo was born in 1940 and was playing professionally by the end of the 1950s. While saxophonist Jason Yarde and bassist John Edwards may have been working with the drummer since the early 1990s and pianist Alexander Hawkins and Moholo-Moholo now play in a widely praised duo, not one of this all-British trio was born when the drummer turned professional; the pianist in fact is 41 years younger than Moholo-Moholo. MORE

December 11, 2014

Peter Kowald

Discography
Jazz Werksttatt JW 150

Taylor Ho Bynum 7-Tett

Navigation (Possibly Abstracts XI & XIII)

Firehouse 12 FH-12-04-01-019

Hans Lüdemann

Die Kunst des Trio 1-5

BMC Records BMC CD 196

Flat Earth Society

FESXLS

Igloo IGL 257

Something In The Air: Outstanding and Unusual Boxed Sets

By Ken Waxman

As the availability of music on different media continues to proliferate, the focus of the durable box set has become equally diverse. No longer does a multi-disc collection have to be definitive or far-ranging. As a matter of fact some of the best, like the ones discussed here, concentrate on certain sequences in an artist’s career. MORE

July 11, 2014

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Procession (Live at Toulouse)
Ogun OGCD 40

By Ken Waxman

The best jazz is often created through the synthesis of conflicting, sometime clashing musical impulses. So it was with the work of South African pianist Chris McGregor (1936-1990), whose all-star Blue Notes band of the ‘60s combined hard bop and (South) African musical influences. McGregor’s references multiplied during his European expatriate years when he created the Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) big band. On these live late ‘70s performances, sinuous kwela melodies and bop’s breakneck speed are part of the band’s disciplined Basie-like swing, yet at the same time sound extensions introduced by affiliated European free players have become more apparent in the writing and playing. MORE

July 6, 2014

Harry Miller

Different Times, Different Places
Ogun OGCD 041

Via flamboyant performances from 1973 and 1976, Different Times, Different Places celebrates a particularly fertile period in British Free Jazz by unearthing hitherto unissued performances by two top-flight combos under the leadership of bassist Harry Miller. Importantly, the CD also adds material to the catalogue of three players who have since died. South African-born Miller (1941-1983), killed in an auto accident in the Netherlands; alto saxophonist Mike Osborne (1941-2007), whose mental illness prevented him from playing after the early 1980s; and pianist Chris McGregor (1936-1990), another South African, whose London-based Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) big band was a meeting ground for advanced African and European jazzers. MORE

December 8, 2013

Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath

Procession: Live At Toulouse
Ogun OGCD 39

Evan Parker/Barry Guy/Paul Lytton

Live at Maya Recordings Festival

NoBusiness NBCD 55

Butcher/Buck/Mayas/Stangl

Plume

Unsounds 35u

Michel Doneda/Joris Rühl

Linge

Umlaut Records umfrcd 07

Lori Freedman & John Heward

On No On

Mode Avant 16

Matt Mitchell

Fiction

Pi Recordings PI50

Kidd Jordan & Hamid Drake
MORE

March 15, 2013

Alexander Hawkins & Louis Moholo-Moholo

Keep Your Heart Straight
Ogun OGCD 039

Alexander Hawkins Ensemble

All There, Ever Out

Babel BDV 1196

Praised frequently as one of the United Kingdom’s most accomplished young pianists, on the basis of these discs it’s easy to see how Oxford-based Alexander Hawkins has gained this reputation. Someone whose collaborators as pianist and organist have included North Americans drummer Harris Eisenstadt, cornetist Taylor Ho Bynum and reedist Joe McPhee, Hawkins is also perfectly at home working with Commonwealth citizens who are veterans or his contemporaries. MORE

January 22, 2013

Wadada Leo Smith & Louis Moholo-Moholo

Ancestors
TUM CD 029

Chicago Underground Duo

Age of Energy

Northern Spy NS 020

Not the most common configuration by any means, the mating of trumpet (or cornet) and drums is usually avoided because of a perceived lack of tonal colors and contrast. That concern hasn’t daunted these duos, with the qualities implicit in Free Music adding to their singular audacity. At the same time each chooses to highlight their brass-percussion output in an original fashion. California-based trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith, 72, and South African percussionist Louis Moholo-Moholo, 73, play completely acoustically on their first-ever meeting. In contrast the Chicago Underground Duo (CUD) consisting of corniest Rob Mazurek, 47, and drummer Chad Taylor, 39, utilize a variety of older percussion and up-to-the-minute electronic peripherals to expand their sound. MORE

October 2, 2012

Foxes Fox

Live at the Vortex
psi 12.01

He now may be 82 and be best known for the dreamier ballads he often plays with his own groups, but this set proves that trumpeter/flugelhornist Kenny Wheeler can hold his own in any invigorating Free Jazz session. Of course it helps that the Canadian-born, London-resident Wheeler showed up as a special guest with a quartet consisting of players he has worked with for years in different contexts.

A true all-star ensemble, Foxes Fox consists of tenor saxophonist Evan Parker, pianist Steve Beresford, bassist John Edwards and percussionist Louis Moholo-Moholo. On their own the four exhibit the depth of their interaction in the more than 38½-minute “Foxes Set 1”. Characterized by unmistakable reed slurs from Parker, his wide vibrato and boisterous tone smears are meticulously set up by Beresford’s cascading glissandi and key clicks, Edwards’ pumps and side sawing runs and Moholo-Moholo’s rattling backbeat. MORE

December 30, 2011

Calling Signals 07

Live from Cafe Sting
Loose Toque LT 020

Satoko Fujii Min-Yoh Ensemble

Watershed

Libra Records 204-028

While the lowly accordion is probably the butt of more nasty jokes than any other instrument – Q: What’s the definition of a gentleman? A: Someone who can play the accordion but doesn’t – questing musicians are overcoming its square reputation to expose it in improvised music contexts. Plus not every one hears or plays it the same way.

On Live from Cafe Sting for instance, Norwegian Eivin One Pedersen uses his squeeze-box to take the chordal instrument’s role in a Jazz quartet otherwise consisting of veteran players: Stavanger’s Frode Gjerstad on clarinets and alto saxophone; London’s Nick Stephens on bass and Cape Town’s Louis Moholo-Moholo on drums. Watershed on the other hand features New York’s Andrea Parkins adding her accordion wizardry to traditional and original tunes reflecting Min-Yoh or traditional Japanese music. Considering that accordions are as prevalent in traditional Japanese music as djembes are Baroque compositions, Parkins’ keys and bellows add unique colors to the eight tracks here. One must also bear in mind that Watershed, made up of five Satoko Fujii compositions, is anything but authentic Japanese folk music. With the rest of the band consisting of Fujii’s piano, Natsuki Tamura’s trumpet and Curtis Hasselbring’s trombone, the sound also becomes close to try-anything American folk music. MORE

December 5, 2011

Ogun Records

Label Spotlight
By Ken Waxman

Nearly 40 years after it released its first disc – and after pressing about 40 LPs and 30 CDs – London-based Ogun Records is still chugging along, with managing director Hazel Miller maintaining it as a one-woman show. Strongly identified with the South African musicians who fled Apartheid for the United Kingdom during the 1960s as well as with the British innovators affiliated with them, Ogun puts out three to four CDs annually. The discs are a mixture of CD transfers of important LPs; newly recorded discs; plus never-before-released historical sessions. MORE

October 30, 2011

Louis Moholo-Moholo/Dudu Pukwana/Johnny Dyani/Rev. Frank Wright

Spiritual Knowledge And Grace
Ogun OGCD 035

Elton Dean’s Ninesense

Suite

Jazzwerkstatt JW 107

Prime, hitherto-unreleased slices of Jazz’s past, these CDs not only bring into circulation historically important live performances, but also confirm the skills of featured percussionist Louis Moholo-Moholo. One of the last surviving members of the many South African improvisers who left the country in the early 1960s because of Apartheid, Moholo, 71, still plays in fine form, and has returned to live in South Africa. MORE

October 30, 2011

Elton Dean’s Ninesense

Suite
Jazzwerkstatt JW 107

Louis Moholo-Moholo/Dudu Pukwana/Johnny Dyani/Rev. Frank Wright

Spiritual Knowledge And Grace

Ogun OGCD 035

Prime, hitherto-unreleased slices of Jazz’s past, these CDs not only bring into circulation historically important live performances, but also confirm the skills of featured percussionist Louis Moholo-Moholo. One of the last surviving members of the many South African improvisers who left the country in the early 1960s because of Apartheid, Moholo, 71, still plays in fine form, and has returned to live in South Africa. MORE

October 10, 2011

Loose Torque

Label Spotlight
By Ken Waxman

London’s Loose Torque label is the audio equivalent of a small press publisher which concentrates on aesthetics. Just as those firms’ limited-edition books are printed on high-quality paper with covers produced by hand-operated letterpress, Loose Torque CDRs are computer-burned in batches of 100, using specialist Taiyo Yuden discs, with professionally designed packaging.

Loose Torque is the brainchild of veteran British bassist Nick Stephens, who describes himself as “artist-producer-runner. I play on and record the music, mix and edit it, think of titles, burn, print and pack the discs and take them to the post office.” Founded in 2005, Loose Torque has already released 21 CDRs, ranging from archival sessions with such major UK players as alto saxophonist Dudu Pukwana and drummer John Stevens, to contemporary dates that showcase Norwegian saxophonist Frode Gjerstad, British trumpeter Jon Corbett and South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo among others. The label’s literal in-house art staff is Stephens’ wife Fay, an illustrator and New Media designer, who also maintains the Web site. MORE

April 8, 2011

FMP In Rückblick

In Retrospect 1969-2010
FMP CD 137 - FMP CD 148

Something in the Air: FMP`s 40th Anniversary

By Ken Waxman

Throughout jazz history, independent labels have typified sounds of the time. In the Swing era it was Commodore; Modern jazz was prominent on Blue Note and Prestige; and with Improvised Music, FMP is one of the longest lasting imprints. Celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Berlin-based label has given listeners a spectacular birthday present with FMP In Rückblick – In Retrospect 1969-2010,12 [!] CDs representing FMP’s past and future – the oldest from 1975, the newest, by American cellist Tristan Honsinger and German guitarist Olaf Rupp from 2010, half previously unissued – plus an LP-sized, 218-page book, lavishly illustrated with contemporary photographs, posters, album covers and a discography. MORE

March 24, 2011

Dennis González/Yells at Eels

Cape of Storms
Ayler Records AYLCD-117

Over the past two decades Dallas-based trumpeter Dennis González has evolved two strategies in order to play advanced improvised music. Since he was the only so-called avant-grade musician in the city, he frequently invites out-of-town stylists to play with him. The other part of his plan has taken place literally on his home turf: he’s grown his own improvisers. The Yells at Eels’ band demonstrates this, since its rhythm section is made up of González’s sons, Aaron on double bass and Stefan on vibes and percussion. MORE

December 19, 2010

New York Art Quartet

Old Stuff: October 1965
Cuneiform Records RUNE 300

Archie Shepp

The New York Contemporary Five

Delmark DE 409

Back in the turbulent days of the early 1960s when the New Thing was really new, North American gigs for the pioneers of Free Jazz were at the same premium that they are for advanced players today. That’s when the wholesale exodus to work in Europe for longer or shorter stays began. These prime slices of birthing Energy Music capture two acclaimed, ostensible New York bands, performing to wider acclaim in Copenhagen. MORE

June 11, 2010

Elton Dean’s Ninesense

Happy Daze + Oh! For The Edge
Ogun OGCD 032

Keith Tippett Septet

A loose kite in a gentle wind floating with only my will for an anchor

Ogun OGCD 030

Although the principal lure of these two reissues may be the availability of prime slices of 1970s and 1980s British Free Jazz, unexpected revelations appear while listening. The facility of the session leaders and most sidemen on these discs by pianist Keith Tippett’s septet plus the ensembles led by saxophonist Elton Dean is widely known. But one musician whose talents seem to have slipped below the radar since that time is Welsh jazz trombonist Nick Evans. MORE

June 6, 2010

Festival Report:

Freedom of the City 2010
By Ken Waxman

“To Thine Self Be True” is lettered horizontally in careful script above the stage at Conway Hall in London’s Bloomsbury district, where London’s annual Freedom of the City (FOTC) festival took place May 2 and 3. Although related to the philosophy of the Ethical Society which built the edifice in 1929, the slogan can easily also be applied to five dozen or so improvisers featured at FOTC.

Organized about decade ago by saxophonist Evan Parker and AMM percussionist Eddie Prévost to showcase the city’s vibrant improvising scene, FOTC today welcomes as many tyros as veterans – and from the Continent and North America as well as the United Kingdom. Participants ranged from eccentric soprano saxophonist Lol Coxhill, 77 and American trumpeter Ishmael Wadada Leo Smith, 67, to young participants in Prévost’s weekly improv workshop and American brassman Peter Evans. MORE

July 8, 2009

Blue Notes

The Ogun Collection
Ogun OGCD 024, 025, 026, 027 & 028

What regretfully could be subtitled Tale of the Incredible Shrinking Band, this box set collects five CDs by the Blue Notes, arguable the best jazz band to emerge fully formed from Apartheid-era South Africa.

Consisting of sessions recorded from 1964 to 1987, the set traces the band’s evolution from a six-man boppish combo to a smaller group, which energized European – especially British – jazz by intermixing African rhythms and melodies, Hard Bop styling plus emerging Free Music. Leaving aside the first disc, Legacy: live in South Afrika 1964, the other CDs are necessarily reductive. That’s because after pianist and Blue Note leader Chris McGregor organized the Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) big band in 1970, other original Blue Notes left the enlarged group for their own projects for greater or lesser periods. Subsequently the remaining originals only regrouped for one/off gigs such as 1977’s Blue Notes in Concert, or sadly to honor deceased comrades. Blue Notes for Mongezi dates from 1975, and captures most of the 3½ hour improvised threnody the others played to honor trumpeter Mongezi Feza who died suddenly at 30. Finally Blue Notes for Johnny dates from 1987, following a similar post-funeral session by the remaining trio marking bassist Johnny Dyani’s death at 40. MORE

December 23, 2008

Graham Collier

Deep Dark Blue Centre/ Portraits/The Alternate Mosaics
BGO CD 822

Mike Osborne Trio

All Night Long

Ogun OGCD 029

While most of the attention in Britain and overseas in the late 1960s, early 1970s was focused on progressive rock and pop music coming from England, far more notable sounds were being developed outside of the mainstream. Although the most far-reaching of these advances may turn out to be the non-idiomatic improv advanced by the likes of Derek Bailey and Evan Parker, two other strains deserve attention.

One, represented here by Graham Collier’s session for septet and sextets, collected from three different LPs, expressed the depths of the composer-arranger’s art. Its variations on color, texture, space and voicing cemented Collier’s reputation in that tricky hyphenate’s top ranks. All Night Long on the other hand, is a free-for-all blowing session from three musicians who while fellow travellers, were not fundamental believers in Bailey-Parker-styled lower-case pure improv. MORE

December 23, 2008

Mike Osborne Trio

All Night Long
Ogun OGCD 029

Graham Collier

Deep Dark Blue Centre/ Portraits/The Alternate Mosaics

BGO CD 822

While most of the attention in Britain and overseas in the late 1960s, early 1970s was focused on progressive rock and pop music coming from England, far more notable sounds were being developed outside of the mainstream. Although the most far-reaching of these advances may turn out to be the non-idiomatic improv advanced by the likes of Derek Bailey and Evan Parker, two other strains deserve attention. MORE

September 18, 2008

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Eclipse At Dawn
Cuneiform Rune 262

The Chris McGregor Group

Very Urgent

Fledg'ling Records FD-3059

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Brotherhood

Fledg'ling Records FD-3063

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Fledg'ling Records FD-3062

Nearly 20 years after his death the musical importance of South African-born, pianist Chris McGregor and his pioneering multi-cultural big band Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) that operated both in the United Kingdom and the Continent is being repeatedly reconfirmed. MORE

September 18, 2008

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath
Fledg'ling Records FD-3062

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Brotherhood

Fledg'ling Records FD-3063

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Eclipse At Dawn

Cuneiform Rune 262

The Chris McGregor Group

Very Urgent

Fledg'ling Records FD-3059

Nearly 20 years after his death the musical importance of South African-born, pianist Chris McGregor and his pioneering multi-cultural big band Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) that operated both in the United Kingdom and the Continent is being repeatedly reconfirmed. MORE

September 18, 2008

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Brotherhood
Fledg'ling Records FD-3063

The Chris McGregor Group

Very Urgent

Fledg'ling Records FD-3059

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Fledg'ling Records FD-3062

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Eclipse At Dawn

Cuneiform Rune 262

Nearly 20 years after his death the musical importance of South African-born, pianist Chris McGregor and his pioneering multi-cultural big band Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) that operated both in the United Kingdom and the Continent is being repeatedly reconfirmed. MORE

September 18, 2008

The Chris McGregor Group

Very Urgent
Fledg'ling Records FD-3059

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Brotherhood

Fledg'ling Records FD-3063

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Fledg'ling Records FD-3062

Chris McGregor’s Brotherhood of Breath

Eclipse At Dawn

Cuneiform Rune 262

Nearly 20 years after his death the musical importance of South African-born, pianist Chris McGregor and his pioneering multi-cultural big band Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) that operated both in the United Kingdom and the Continent is being repeatedly reconfirmed. MORE

May 18, 2008

Sven-Åke Johansson, Moderne Nordeuropäische Dorfmusik

Berlin Symfonie MIND1968 - 72
Olof Bright Editions OBCD 14-15

Selwyn Lissack’s Friendship Next of Kin

Facets of the Univers

DMG ARC 702

Operating in the shade of rock music’s hegemony and somewhat overshadowed by American experiments, in the late 1960s-early 1970s European-based improvisers were creating their own answers to the question of how to forge modern music.

As these little-known period CDs led by drummer-conceptual artists demonstrate, these responses could take a multitude of forms. Better known of the leaders is Swede Sven Åke Johansson, a long-time Berlin resident, whose affiliation with the avant-garde ranges from his early participation in saxophonist Peter Brötzmann’s bands –including the seminal Machine Gun session – to his position today when he still plays with youngish experimenters like trumpeter Axel Dörner. His art is a sideline. MORE

May 18, 2008

Selwyn Lissack’s Friendship Next of Kin

Facets of the Univers
DMG ARC 702

Sven-Åke Johansson, Moderne Nordeuropäische Dorfmusik

Berlin Symfonie MIND1968 - 72

Olof Bright Editions OBCD 14-15

Operating in the shade of rock music’s hegemony and somewhat overshadowed by American experiments, in the late 1960s-early 1970s European-based improvisers were creating their own answers to the question of how to forge modern music.

As these little-known period CDs led by drummer-conceptual artists demonstrate, these responses could take a multitude of forms. Better known of the leaders is Swede Sven Åke Johansson, a long-time Berlin resident, whose affiliation with the avant-garde ranges from his early participation in saxophonist Peter Brötzmann’s bands –including the seminal Machine Gun session – to his position today when he still plays with youngish experimenters like trumpeter Axel Dörner. His art is a sideline. MORE

November 14, 2006

Peter Brötzmann

Alarm
Atavistic ALP257CD

Brötzmann/Mangelsdorff/Sommer
Pica Pica
Atavistic ALP258CD

Two more valuable CD reissues of Wuppertal, Germany-based saxophonist Peter Brötzmann’s work for FMP in the 1980s once again show his versatility. One disk offers proof positive that the hard-driving reedist can easily hold up his side in an all-star trio configuration, while the other shows how he helps spark aural fireworks in a nonet situation.

Ironically the aptly-named Alarm almost ended up being more than a fanciful “blast from the past”. This Hamburg radio gig with a multi-national cast of nine Free Jazzers had to be interrupted after the 40 odd minutes captured on the disc were recorded because a phoned-in bomb threat meant that the audience, technicians and musicians had to quickly evacuate the hall. MORE

August 21, 2006

HARRY MILLER’S ISIPINGO

Which Way Now
Cuneiform Records Rune 233

By Ken Waxman

Free Bop with a touch with kwela is probably the best way to describe this CD of never-before-released tracks from bassist Harry Miller’s 1975 Isipingo sextet. But this high quality session consisting of four of Miller’s compositions is more than that. It adds another document to the underrepresented story of South African/British improv.

Starting in the 1960s, usually fed up or fleeing apartheid, a variety of South African musicians abandoned their homeland and set up shop in the United Kingdom. Soon they interacted with some of the more advanced British players to develop a variant of Hard Bop mixed with transformed homeland melodies and touches of Free Jazz. Most – including trumpeter Mongezi Feza and drummer Louis Moholo featured here – were graduates of Chris McGregor’s Blue Notes combo. MORE

August 4, 2006

Louis Moholo-Moholo

Bra Louis-Bra Bra-Tebs/Spirits Rejoice
Ogun CD017/018

Sole survivor of the legendary Blue Notes band that left Apartheid-era South Africa in the mid-1960s, drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo finally returned permanently to Cape Town in 2004. But during the three decades that he and his fellow exiled countrymen lived in Europe they added an undiluted tincture of African sensibility to the developing Free Music scene.

This CD assembles two important large group sessions. Spirits Rejoice, released on LP in 1978, is an octet date, which finds the drummer and two other expatriate South Africans – bassist Johnny Dyani, another former Blue Note, and bassist Harry Miller, who left the country on his own – working out with the ne plus ultra of BritImprov including trumpeter Kenny Wheeler, tenor saxophonist Evan Parker and pianist Keith Tippett. Elaborated are five longish pieces that mix Xhosa tribe rhythmic inflections, revivalist hymns and freeform Energy Music. MORE

July 7, 2006

Calling Signals

Dreams in Dreams
FMRCD177-i0805

Calling Signals
Calling Signals
Loose Torque LT 004

Band names are a convenience, usually created when players don’t want to call a group so-and-so’s quartet. Yet the designation can also be deceptive if the make-up of a group changes substantially without altering the name.

So it is with these CDs by two ensembles called Calling Signals. The quartet was initially put together following an all-day memorial concert for British drummer John Stevens by British bassist Nick Stephens and Norwegian reedist Frode Gjerstad, who had both played extensively with Stevens. The self-titled CD is a 1996 edition of the group with its founders joined by South African drummer Louis Moholo of Blue Notes fame and Dane Hasse Poulsen on guitars and effects, best-known for his association with French reedist Louis Sclavis. MORE

September 26, 2005

LONDON IMPROVISERS ORCHESTRA

Responses, Reproduction & Reality
EMANEM 4110

Outgrowth of a Butch Morris-led conduction that took place in London a few years ago, the London Improvisers Orchestra (LIO) has evolved into a once-a-month gig where some of the British capital’s best improvisers get together to try out new ideas.

Involving a revolving cast of 30-plus players as well as different conductors and composers, the LIO has taken on an identity far beyond that of a BritImprov kicks band. However as these seven tracks, recorded at 2003’s and 2004’s Freedom of the City festivals demonstrate, the outcome is still inconsistent. MORE

January 17, 2005

Mike Osborne Trio & Quintet

Border crossing & Marcel’s Muse
Ogun

Joe Harriott Quintet
Swings High
Cadillac

By Ken Waxman
January 17, 2005

All during the 1960s and 1970s, a group of forward-thinking British improvisers was working on different strategies to move their music past what was then considered modern jazz. Some, like guitarist Derek Bailey and saxophonist Evan Parker, emphasized their distance from jazz to create irregularly pulsed so-called Free Improvisation.

Others, who didn’t want as radical a break from the tradition, evolved a free bop style that put the advances of American innovators like Ornette Coleman, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane into a rapidly paced framework. Years later, the advances of non-representational practitioners like Parker are better remembered than the experiments of the modifiers. Of course it helps that many of the free musicians -- and their Continental colleagues -- are still alive and playing impressively today. MORE

June 21, 2004

CHRIS MCGREGOR’S BROTHERHOOD OF BREATH

Bremen To Bridgwater
Cuneiform Records Rune 182/183

Count Basie of the Townships could have been the late South African pianist Chris McGregor’s nickname. That is, if his Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) big band, featured on this two-CD set of 1970s performances, didn’t add the colorations of Charles Mingus’ bigger groups and suggestions of Hank Crawford’s arrangements for Ray Charles to its unique mix of modern jazz and South African jive.

Earlier, apartheid era officials went out of their way to discourage the white pianist from mixing with black musicians. Which is why Capetown’s McGregor (1936-1990) and his black fellow players in the Blue Notes sextet ended up living permanently in Europe after 1964. MORE

October 29, 2001

CHRIS MCGREGOR & THE BROTHERHOOD OF BREATH

Travelling Somewhere
Cuneiform Records Rune 152

Illustrating one of the appealing, yet little explored, tributaries of improvised music, this nearly 80 minute blast from the past presents British-South African pianist Chris McGregor's 12-piece Brotherhood of Breath (BOB) recorded live in a 1973 German gig.

Outgrowth of the racially mixed Blue Notes combo that, because of Apartheid, as forced to relocate from Africa to England in the early 1960s, BOB was an altogether more expansive project. With a nucleus of the original combo -- trumpeter Mongezi Feza, alto saxophonist Dudu Pukwana and drummer Louis Moholo as well as McGregor -- it welcomed other immigrants like South African bassist Harry Miller and Barbadian trumpeter Harry Beckett to the fold, and filled out the band with the cream of MORE