Louis Moholo Moholo Quartet at Cafe Oto

Alexander Hawkins, John Edwards, Louis Moholo Moholo, Jason Yarde
Photo Credit: Andy Newcombe
Geoff Winston reviewed this quartet's performance in depth for us last October HERE. What is there to add? That the whole vibe and spirit of this band is something quite exceptional. There's a joy, a collegiality, there's pride and a sense of privilege in connecting directly with Moholo's tradition and his astonishing heritage. This was a gig to win over any hardened sceptic, to make cares and concerns and hostility disappear. The quartet play music of deep humanity, which is capable of talking to a far wider audience. As the fifth and last of their current tour, it was a true celebration of everything worth celebrating.

The individual players extend themselves, express individuality, but they have ways of connecting with all kinds of passionate, infectiously simple melodic hooks. I found I was still singing them hours afterwards. As Geoff pointed out, the song Lakutshona Ilanga and Harold Arlen's Over the Rainbow are pretty close. Just start singing that phrase, and you'll never stop, take it round and round and round:

"Land. That. I. Heard. Of. Once. (two-three-four)"

Jason Yarde can assert presence, be assertive, but also convey ethereal, abstract, dreamt sounds. Alexander Hawkins is - among other things - the very, very best thing since Don Pullen. With John Edwards, similar thoughts about the sheer range of expression prevail: to hear a renowned free improviser revert to the simplicity of a walking bass which could have been played by Walter Page in the 1930's was (to me) a very happy revelation. And Louis Moholo Moholo, the master himself at the drumkit at the back has infinite alertness, positivity, and yet gentleness. The sustained sound of his shimmering cymbal was such a thing of beauty, it was worth the price of the gig all on its own. But why write? You just have to be there.

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