Zimbabwe-born poet + sound artist MA.MOYO (ALL CAPS) is this week's selector. Her list is every bit the assortment I had imagined – and more.
1. Jay Dee aka J Dilla - Think Twice (1'09" - 1'19")
Jay Dee – Welcome 2 Detroit (2001)
"One of my favourite pairings in music is Jay Dee & Dwele - such a sick combo. His voice was made for those beats and their chemistry is palpable. These 10 seconds formake a really interesting break in the song - taking us from Dwele’s vocals to just pure beats with that really funny bit at the end that ends up not being funny once a gun goes off."
2. Duke Ellington - Jeep’s Blues (3'30" - 3'40")
Duke Ellington And His Orchestra – Ellington At Newport (1957)
"I’m weak for big bands and brass sections. I’m weak for this Johnny Hodges/ Ellington collab. The opening always swoops so high and confidently - it just takes one’s breath away then immediately has you swaying back and forth. This is a sexy standard. I chose these 10 seconds because of just the pocket of calm that’s created after such a loud and audacious opening."
3. Alice Coltrane - Er Ra (3'55" - 4'05")
Alice Coltrane - ≈ Turiyasangitananda – Divine Songs (Cassette-only c1987)
“This is one of the many, many pieces of music drawn from four, very rare, cassette-only releases that were distributed to devotees of Alice Coltrane’s ashram between 1983 and 1995. The music from these tapes is incredibly meditative, transformative and sonically different to music she commercially released. These 10 seconds resonate with me because we really get to hear not just her vocals but that part of singing that is about devotion to God. Her voice is soft yet strong and yearning. This combined with the harp creates an ethereal feel."
4. Max Roach + Abbey Lincoln - Lonesome Lover (0'10" - 0'20")
Max Roach His Chorus And Orchestra – It's Time (1962)
"Opening lyrics combined with Abbey’s voice just hit sooo hard I will never get used to it. Also - voice and drum when in perfect rhythm can create such a great conversation. I feel this way about Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach."
5. Msaki - Ulwandle Lutshile (0'26" - 0'36")
Msaki - Zaneliza: How the Water Moves (2016)
"I don’t speak or understand isiXhosa, a South African language, but I know this is one of the most well-written songs I’ve ever heard. Don’t ask me how I know - I just do! It’s the layering of vocals for me. South African Jazz and all that it influences is top."
6. Tony Allen feat. ESKA - Day Like This (Rework) (2'31" - 2'41")
Theo Parrish / Tony Allen
– Day Like This / Feel Loved 12" (2013)
"This is another example of when the voice and drums are having a juicy conversation. ESKA is one of the best vocalists and musicians and it’s always a privilege to experience her genius. Rest in Peace, Uncle Tony."
7. Roy Ayers & Merry Clayton - Oh What A Lonely Feeling (0'39" - 0'49")
Roy Ayers – Virgin Ubiquity (Unreleased Recordings 1976-1981)
"The breakdown and the switch up of the vocals. My Gods! This song gets me in the gut each time mostly because the way Merry Clayton sang those heartfelt lyrics... It’s too much."
8. Alhaji K Frimpong - Kyenkyen Bi Adi Mawu (0'30"-0'40")
Alhaji K. Frimpong- K. Frimpong And His Cubano Fiestas (1976)
"I first heard this song in a basement speakeasy with a yellow door on Dalston Kingsland Road. My Ghanaian friend screamed and ran to the white DJ to ask him where he had heard this song. She went on to tell him it was her Dad's favourite song which she had never heard outside of her home and only closely associated with her Ghanaian heritage. Between being strongly captured by the horns and my friend's strong reaction I couldn't help but hold on to this song forever."