By Marcus J. Moore (NPR), OPB, Oregon Public Broadcasting
Asher Gamedze‘s music is meant to realign your spirit, to carry you from melancholy to utopia. On his debut album, Dialectic Soul, the South African drummer makes elegant, astral jazz seemingly informed by John Coltrane, Lonnie Liston Smith and Brother Ah. At the height of free jazz and spiritual jazz in the late 1960s, Black bandleaders used these subgenres to illuminate social unrest fueled by persistent racism, the killings of prominent civil rights leaders, and the war in Vietnam. In South Africa, jazz musicians — including bassist Johnny Dyani, multi-instrumentalist Hugh Masekela and pianist Abdullah Ibrahim — spoke out against apartheid and left the country as a result.
U.S. artists like Alice Coltrane and Pharoah Sanders expressed peace in their work; Albert Ayler and Sonny Sharrock exorcised inner turmoil. With Dialectic Soul, out now, Gamedze speaks to the brutal history of violence and colonialism in his native South Africa, using spoken-word and mid- to down-tempo melodies to unpack the suffering. Instead of tottering through it, Gamedze ruminates, acknowledging the pain while looking toward peace. “Fundamentally, it is about the reclamation of the historical imperative,” Gamedze wrote on his Bandcamp page. “It is about the dialect of the soul & the spirit while it moves through history.”
Featured Image, Elijah Ndoumbe / Courtesy of the artist
Full article @ OPB, Oregon Public Broadcasting