Moses Taiwa Molelekwa - Live at the Fin de Siecle Festival Nantes

2009-04-24 12:18
Live at the Fin de Siecle Festival, Nantes
On Live, the synthesiser-heavy production that was fashionable at the time (and in my opinion severely marrs the much-lauded the Genes and Spirits) is abandoned for an urgent, acoustic and chameleon performance, with long phrases built on variations, and the trademark Molelekwa treats of unexpected changes of direction. Never awkward or forced, these musical surprises are like sudden bright routes opening up before you - the perfect turnoff on a dark highway - a tendency that was explored but not quite unveiled on his debut, Finding One's Self.

The seemingly effortless rapport between Mololekwa and the brilliant Khaya Mahlangu (flute, sax) is the central energy that makes this album an essential in your collection - they appear to be reading each other's minds, and virtually channeling the music. The supporting cast of lesser known stars also includes the then very young, talented drummer Sello Montwedi, and percussionist Fana Zulu, who Mololekwa helped "make".

Only one track from Finding One's Self and one from Genes and Spirits appear on this live CD. So it's not some 'for the sake of it' collector's item. And it's wonderful to hear how Mololekwa goes from the nervous brilliance of the opening track, through a flawless live version of the gorgeous "Mountain Shade", to the upbeat "Dance to Africa" and on to the finale.

Although you can hear he's South African, there's something international and borderless about his sound, which encapsulates the influence of styles ranging from straight jazz, to township jive, to Cuban sounds, to long new age phrases, to classical fugal constructions.

This album - released after Molelekwa's controversial death - was recorded at the Nantes Festival just after Molelekwa completed his famous landmark recording Genes and Spirits, when he was just 24-years-old and already gaining major international recognition (he first toured the United States at age 17 with SA Jazz stars Sibongile Khumalo and Hugh Masakela).

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