Art of Improvisation

Art of Improvisation

by Charnett Moffett


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Art of Improvisation

Charnett Moffett's talent as a premier progressive jazz bassist has never been in doubt, but compositionally, his work has straddled the fence between overtly commercial, modern mainstream, and contemporary. This recording, his eighth as a leader, could advance any listener's view of Moffett, as he overdubs fretless electric bass guitar, piccolo bass, and acoustic upright in a variety of different progressive jazz and ethnic contexts, referencing the title as a prerequisite for making this heady, always intriguing music that commands attention from start to finish. Drummers Will Calhoun (Living Color) and Eric McPherson are on board, the band expands and contracts with guitarists and keyboardists, and Tibetan vocalist Yungchen Lhamo is included, making for a stew and brew of epic proportions that is the foundation for Moffett's many whims and fancied flights of improvisation through soloing and layering of his instruments. The more exotic works here are so intriguing they deserve additional listenings. "Enlightenment, Pt. I/II" is based in Middle Eastern, oud like sounds and ethnic swing respectively, the outstanding track "The Awakening" adds tapped and bowed bass sounds folded into a sound that is at once modal, kinetic, bright, ancient and modern. "We Pray" retains the folk ethnicity but is powered by Moffett's Jaco Pastorius-like lead sound up front, while "Swing Rock" keeps the Pastorius pulse, add drums only, and effects, in an extension of what Weather Report might have evolved into. A powerhouse theme, "The Story," has the bowed electric bass contrasted into choppy excursions and wah-wah fusion with neo-bop and classical overtones all in one treatise. Swing and funk are juxtaposed during "Moses," a soured tone in a 6/8 contrabass solo identifies "Elements of Life," and sister Angela Moffett recites poetry on the free piece "Dreams." Lhamo is most prominent on "Call for Peace" as her oohs and ahhs buoy Moffett's bowed acoustic bass. The tricky balance between pure, arty improvisation and overdubbing is difficult to discern or break down, but easy to enjoy. Perhaps Moffett's very best effort in his three-decade career, it completely sums up where he came from, and where he's headed, into a fully formed identity as a leader who is now emerging in a singular voice, with disparate elements blending beautifully. This spirited and soulful recording comes highly recommended, especially to those who tire of the less substantive, flashy, speed king quotient prevalent in far too many other bassists.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/12/2009
Label: Motema Music
UPC: 0181212000214
catalogNumber: 21
Rank: 235683

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Charnett Moffett   Primary Artist,Drums,Bass Guitar,Fretless Bass Guitar,Acoustic Bass,Piccolo Bass,Upright Bass
Will Calhoun   Drums
Eric McPherson   Drums
Yungchen Lhamo   Vocals
Scott Brown   Piano
Pat Jones   Acoustic Guitar
Shannon Barnes   Electric Guitar
Shane Barnes   Guitar,Electric Guitar
RJ Avallone   Trumpet
Angela Moffett   Spoken Word
Patrick Jones   Guitar

Technical Credits

Langston Hughes   Composer
Chris Jennings   Engineer
Derrick Lee   Engineer
Charnett Moffett   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,Audio Production
Bill Milkowski   Liner Notes
Carol Friedman   Art Direction
Francis Scott Key   Composer
Heidi Martin   Engineer
Jana Herzen   Executive Producer

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Art of Improvisation 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago