Hawkins, Alexander/Louis Moholo-Moholo - Keep Your Heart Straight

SKU Ogun 039
"I first heard Alexander Hawkins play – at the Vortex Jazz Club, with the Anthony Braxton’s cornet-playing protégé Taylor Ho Bynum, bassist Dominic Lash and drummer Harris Eisenstadt in the Convergence Quartet. The music was an idiomatic white-knuckle ride, and all the players were variously fascinating – but the then 28 year-old Hawkins was a revelation, for the audacity of his ideas, the depth of his understanding of both the- matic and free-form musics, and for his Cecil Taylor-like stamina and power. At the end of that year, I made Hawkins my choice as the rising young player to watch in every media outlet I could get the news into. But his achievements since, including through-composed music, the jazz of Thelonious Monk or Steve Lacy, Hammond organ funk and a lot more, have exceeded all expectations. With this album, Hawkins explores one of his most productive musical relationships, with the great South African percussionist Louis Moholo- Moholo. If you detect a glimpse or two of classic South African jazz in the solemn, hymn-like chords in Amaxesha Osizi or Hawkins’ rocking, early-Abdullah drive on Hear Our Hearts, they represent the young Oxford pianist’s enthusiasm for that culture’s fusion of soulful- ness and townships jive, and the percussion giant’s profound experiences of it, that drew these two together in the first place. But, typically for both players, this session spans far wider horizons, and the pair traverse them with astonishing empathy and alert impulsiveness. From the opening’s thoughtful piano speculations over softly pattering percussion to its storming power chords, through the harmonic subtlety glowing within the free-piano tour de force of Pure vamp under floods of long-lined melody on Catch You On The Rebound, it’s sometimes hard to believe such orchestral depth and drum-choir variety is the work of just two musicians. But this set is about delicacy as well as drama, audible in Moholo- Moholo’s feathery cymbal textures, or Hawkins’ fluid, spacious, treble- note overtures to slow-building improvisations. The standard songs (If I Should Lose You, Lakutshon’ Ilanga and Prelude To A Kiss) show how imaginatively this duo joins past and present, whether breaking up a familiar melody into rugged chunks of Monkish chords, hiding it between trilling low-end notes and dissonant harmonies, or threading it through Moholo-Moholo’s percussion monsoons. In the rich jazz history of an old lion making inspired new music with a young one, Keep Your Heart Straight deserves a very prominent place on the podium."-John Fordham – August 2012
  • LabelOgun
Your Price $18.00
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