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Barney Wilen - Moshi Too. Unreleased Tapes Recorded in Africa 1969-1970 (2013)


Kind of amazing recordings from the estate of jazz musician Barney Wilen, live recordings from his 1969-70 trip to Africa, made with local musicians.  The vibes here are a mix of spiritual jazz, improv drone rock, and rural ethnographic recordings of folk music.  Strongly recommended.

Barney Wilen was a French composer and tenor saxophonist who recorded and played with luminaries like Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Thelonius Monk, and Martial Solal; as a leader and composer, he has made albums that range from straight-ahead jazz to flirtations with psychedelic rock and even early synth/sequencer technologies. One of his most unique recordings, though, was Moshi, an album recorded for the Saravah label which saw him load up a cargo van with Nagra tape recorders and a handful of microphones, joined by a bevy of band mates as they traveled across the African countryside. They'd jam and improvise with local tribesmen, seasoned local vets, and even the occasional street musician, recording everything and releasing the results as a sprawling two-LP opus that fetches insane sums on the collector market.

This is essentially an augmented/alternate version of that record, compiled from alternate and extended takes of the original Moshi's best cuts, as well as a number of recordings from those same road trip sessions that never saw the light of day until now. It's a stunning, hypnotic, and celebratory album and a lovely document of the sociopolitical power of music, overflowing with deep grooves, wild performances, and entertaining interactions; the studio cuts move into hybrids of African griot traditions and soulful pop and gnarly psychedelic fuzz, while the street performances get wholly wild and raw, filled with some deep, trance-inducing invocations, impassioned vocal chants, and ample polyrhythmic percussion workouts. Yes, it's somewhat pricey, but considering how much coin an original copy of Moshi is going to set you back, I cannot recommend this absolute monster of an album enough. Weirdo jazz heads, esoteric groove hounds, and those who dig a bit of cultural fusion blended with your Afro-jams should grip this IMMEDIATELY!! (source)


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