Written by NYC Jazz Record by Anders Griffen
Edition and adaptation by Toni Basanta from Fairfax, Vermont USA
“Aminata Moseka is a remarkable album, owing especially to the cohesiveness of the unit. The playful ensemble is committed to the music and to one another… Schenck’s uniqueness is immediately apparent and it’s great to hear original reiterations of these songs… This is an inspired project.”
“Abbey Lincoln was born on August 6th, 1930 in Chicago. Lyricist Bob Russell, her manager for a time, suggested the name Abbey Lincoln.
In the liner notes for Virginia Schenck’s tribute Aminata Moseka, Thomas Cunniffe recognizes that Lincoln was later given the name “Aminata by Ahmed Sékou Touré of Guinea and Moseka by the Minister of Information of Zaire”, but doesn’t mention Toure was the President of Guinea at that time.
He also said that these names were given on “two separate trips to the continent”, but they seem to have been a single 1975 trip made with singer Miriam Makeba.
Aminata Moseka is a remarkable album, owing especially to the cohesiveness of the unit. The playful ensemble is committed to the music and to one another.
Lincoln’s influence is perceptible, particularly in some of Schenck’s rhythms, but she doesn’t imitate her dedicatee.
Schenck’s uniqueness is immediately apparent and it’s great to hear original reiterations of these Songs.
The album takes off with a floating 12/8 groove for “Talkin’ to the Sun”.
Rodney Jordan’s high-position bass strumming underscores “Another World” a highlight with great texture, with Kevin Bales rendering a muted piano string solo. Percussionist Marlon Patton produces a range of tones throughout
The album—what’s that ?
A rain stick ? Scraps of metal ?
“The River” flows, revisiting the textural approach and some Free improvisation with guest Kebbi Williams on alto saxophone.
“Learning How to Listen” is a great song with a rubato opening developing into a swinging affair.
“Caged Bird” offers a reading of Maya Angelou’s poem as well as the Abbey Lincoln song. The former is rendered freely and could have benefited from a more unified concept. As they transition to grooving sweetly on the latter, Schenck makes some great bird sounds and pianist Bales nearly echoes “A Child Is Born”.
The liner notes erroneously state:
“Schenck offers both the original Maya Angelou poem and Lincoln’s song, which displays how Lincoln adapted Angelou’s words to suit the needs of her music.”
Actually, the phrase “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, which would become the title of Angelou’s first book, comes from the Dunbar poem “Sympathy” and Lincoln suggested the book title to Angelou. So, neither is Angelou’s poem “the original” nor does Lincoln adapt her words.
They are contemporaries riffing on the same idea.
“Bird Alone”, with its straight 8 groove and “Throw It Away” are great songs with hints of ‘smooth’, but on this record as a whole, they don’t rely merely on craft, they are driven by a vital spirit.
This is an inspired project, from beginning to end !!!!!.
DJ Host of The Cuban Bridge on the radio and on television