Hieroglyphic Being The Red Notes Soul Jazz
After last year’s A.R.E Project with saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings and percussionist Sarathy Korwar, (not to mention past dealings with Marshall Allen of the Arkestra) Jamal Moss aka Hieroglyphic Being’s entanglement in jazz is plain to see.
Now, with The Red Notes, Moss pays homage to the giants of Blue Note: Thelonious Monk, John Coltrane and Herbie Hancock, and filters their legacy through the house music style of his home city of Chicago. Although in actuality, it’s the melodic techno explorations of Detroit that are felt most keenly in the result, especially as the album settles in to its groove with The Seduction Syndrome, a track that rests on a piano loop that recalls Derrick May at his most transcendental.
Moss’ “cosmic bebop” has always had a spiritual edge too, as the full title of last year’s Association for Research and Enlightenment will attest and some of the track titles here (see Awake and Energise) indicate the LP’s desired effects. The Red Notebook, in particular, is underpinned by a respiratory rhythm like that of a deep sleeper, and its teased piano melody and drum fills imbue a kind of wholesome calm.
The album centres around the 14-minute title track. Its hisses, bleeps and popping bubbles initially conjure some galactic factory as a scenic background. At the track’s fever pitch everything falls away, leaving the shimmering lead turned to a lament, like a lonely piper in an Irish folk song. Simply put, it’s devastating – a track that demands your attention no matter what context you play it in.
It feels that Jamal Moss is on a roll at the moment, putting out varied and ambitious work at a remarkable rate. Plus, for all his prolificacy, The Red Notes feels vibrant and vital. A remarkable record from a man tapped into something real right now.