Mon Sept. 9, 2019

Louis Moholo-Moholo '4 Blokes' (GB)

Louis Moholo-Moholo: drums
Jason Yarde: alto, soprano, baritone saxophones
Alexander Hawkins: piano
John Edwards: bass

Louis Moholo-Moholo’s recent sessions for the Ogun label have not only shown that the great South African drummer’s fires still burn brightly at 74, but also that he’s making some of the great jazz of his time – as Richard Williams observes in the sleevenotes, Moholo-Moholo’s recent gigs have produced live music “as consistently enthralling as any being made during this phase of jazz’s continuing evolution”. 4 Blokes is a casual title for a set of astonishing intensity, the blokes being the leader, saxophonist Jason Yarde, pianist Alexander Hawkins and bassist John Edwards. Hawkins’ racing piano leads the hooty For the Blue Notes, Yarde is sinewy and agile on soprano sax on the free-jazz sprint Something Gentle (which it isn’t, until its closing moments), while the hymnal Mark of Respect rises on Yarde’s swelling melody over churning grooves. The long Tears for Steve Biko is a free-jazz thrash dominated by writhing soprano lines and clamouring piano, and South African jazz heroes the Blue Notes (Moholo-Moholo is the only surviving member) are celebrated on the late Dudu Pukwana’s sensuous Angel-Nomali. It’s not quite like being at a 4 Blokes gig, but very close. (The Guardian)