“Ancestors Pt. III”


Wadada Leo Smith has a penchant for trumpet and drum duos. In fact, he recently released a four-disc box set (Emerald Duets, also on TUM) of pairings with a stellar lineup of disparate drummers (Pheeroan aKlaff, Han Bennink, Andrew Cyrille and Jack DeJohnette). For more than 35 years, Wadada has been exploring this terrain on record, beginning with a team-up with Ed Blackwell in 1986. In 2012, he released a duet album with veteran South African drummer Louis Moholo-Moholo titled Ancestors (TUM), which evokes the powerful history and tradition — and shared oppression — of both of their inextricably intertwined cultures. The five-part, 25-minute long title suite, credited to both men, journeys through ever-shifting terrain as it evokes the tale of the African diaspora and culminates with shout-outs to jazz masters such as Sonny Rollins and Han Bennink. On the third segment of the epic, our selection, Smith proffers a harsh, muted sound against Moholo-Moholo’s distant rolling thunder. Utilizing a well-stocked library of organic effects, Smith evinces a variety of textures, un-self-consciously showcasing a mastery developed over several decades. Moholo-Moholo, without sounding overly busy or seeking to outdo his partner, maintains an inexorable percussive stream as the pair converse with and complement one another’s contributions.

Purchase Album:

The Authoritative Voice in Jazz