Somnambule - Writing About Music

Moodymann ~ Black Mahogani II

Enigmatic producer Kenny Dixon Jr. delivers four tracks which clock in at a total of just over 35 minutes. Black Mahonagi II could therefore be an album, a single or an EP. First track, When She Follows, moves forward with a driving, acoustic bassline aided and abetted by busy drums, fluttering Rhodes and Moodymann's tripping, abstract vocals. It’s an 18 minute opus which navigates a shifting array of predominantly instrumental passages, featuring some fine solos and never tiring before its sudden end. The three remaining shorter tracks centre themselves much more on Moodymann's vocals and float between house, jazz and soul. The whole affair plots a course through a constellation of points including Donald Byrd’s 1969 Fancy Free, classic Sly and the Family Stone and 4 Hero’s occasional collaborations with saxophonist Chris Bowden. This is soul jazz, not the lazy off the peg kind, but music which lives up to its name.
Colin Buttimer
September 2004
Published by Jazzwise magazine