Charnett Moffett: New Love

Bassist, son of Ornette Coleman's mid-60s drummer, has excellent technique that never gets in the way of a good tune, elegantly phrased


As I have observed when reviewing previous Moffett albums (well, it saves the effort of thinking of something original to say) Moffett is a virtuoso who never relies merely on technique for effect, eschewing flashy and hollow licks.

The son of Charles Moffett, drummer with the Ornette Coleman Trio in the mid-60s, Charnett also worked with Ornette at one point and he seems to share the great man’s flair for almost nursery-rhyme-like tunes which, despite their simple surface, have vigour and durability as well as immediate appeal, viz especially Swinging in The Realms and Rejoice.

The opening track grabs the ear and the memory instantly, proving the first planter of several tenacious ear-worms. What impresses is how skilfully he and the band take these modest lines and, time and time again, find satisfying ways to develop them.

All the tunes are Moffett’s, and he rings the changes with I Didn’t Know, a tender, affecting piece, before Hall joins in on five tracks, imparting a slightly Eastern tinge to the pieces. ETQ also develops a psychedelic feel, particularly in the solo by Herzen. Spirit And Bride Song evokes African music, whilst Love For The People appropriately evokes varied cultures.

The personnel given below is a collective one, but the majority of tracks feature the basic trio of Moffett, Herzen and Garcia. Everyone plays (and sometimes sings) well, and Herzen’s guitar proves an ideal partner to Moffett’s fretless electric bass, but there’s no doubting that Moffett is the reason for getting this album, whether soloing in high register or providing deep, solid, strolling accompaniments. As ever, his combination of lightness of touch, agility of rhythm and elegance of phrasing is a constant pleasure.

Swinging In The Realms; We Remember; Little Flowers; Today; Higher Dimensions; I Didn’t Know; Flying In The Air; Etq; New Love; Spirit And Bride Song; Love For The People; Rejoice (49.49)
Collective personnel: Irwin Hall (ss, ts, f ); John Herzen (g, v); Charnett Moffett (elb, v); Corey Garcia (d); Malick Coley (d). Brooklyn, 3-4 December 2019.
Motéma MTM0374