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Louis Moholo

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Biography

Louis Moholo comes from a musical family and is a self-taught drummer. His band the Cordettes took part in the 1962 Johannesburg Jazz Festival, where Moholo won first prize for drums. After this, Chris McGregor asked him to join the Blue Notes, replacing the original drummer. After leaving South Africa in 1964, the Blue Notes worked in France, Switzerland, and Denmark, finally settling in London. Of the original Blue Notes, Moholo is the one who had the time and the inclination to branch out further, his fantasy and musical sense as an improviser making him a very sought-after partner. Besides playing in the Blue Notes and McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath, Moholo was the driving force behind Harry Miller's Isipingo, and soon led his own groups: the unrecorded Unit, his octet Spirits Rejoice with Kenny Wheeler and Evan Parker, and his septet Viva la Black. In the '90s, he brought a band to South Africa, and the moving experience was recorded and released as Freedom Tour (Ogun, 1993). Moholo has played with Mike Osborne (Shapes, Future Music 1999), Harry Miller, Irene Schweizer (who first met the South African in Zurich in 1964), and Peter Brötzmann (The Nearer the Bone, the Sweeter the Meat, FMP). He's also worked in a guitar-percussion trio with Derek Bailey and Thebe Lipere that works better than expected; and his duo with Cecil Taylor is pure pleasure, with Moholo's soft and melodic phrasing complementing the percussive whirls of the piano. His late-'90s efforts are often based on an extraordinary interplay with Evan Parker (Bush Fire, Ogun 1997; Foxes' Fox, Emanem 1999). Moholo is often featured in the Dedication Orchestra, created to play the music of the South African exiles, and is a member of the London Improvisors Orchestra. ~ Francesco Martinelli

Born:

10 March 1940 in Cape Town, South Africa

Genre
Years Active:

'60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Influencers

Contemporaries