t h e a r t o f p e r c u s s i o n , a v a n t - g a r d e a n d b e y o n d . . .


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Bob Moses
a.k.a. Rahboat Ntumba Rakalam Moizez
Bob Moses
Bob Moses

Drummer, Composer, artist, poet, visionary, nature mystic, Moses' life has been a continuous quest for vision, spirit, compassion, growth and mastery in a multiplicity of art forms.

Born in New York City in 1948, he grew up in an atmosphere of musical and artistic ferment, living and dreaming in the same building as Max Roach, Abbey Lincoln, Elvin Jones, Art Blakey and Rahsaan Kirk. Moses was exposed to this through his ultra hip parents, Richard and Greta (who gave shelter and support to many great musicians). Other close friends included pianist Elmo Hope, Eric Dolphy, legendary drummer Edgar Bateman, and Charles Mingus (who was a frequent visitor to the Moses household and would play piano and drum duets with the precocious thirteen-year-old). Moses, would later play with Roland Kirk's band and contribute a few small bits to classic recordings (Rip, Rig and Panic and I Talk with the Spirits).

Moses began playing drums at age ten, and soon after piano and vibes, began composing at age fourteen. Around this time, he played his first professional gigs with various Latin jazz bands in the Bronx where he began his life long appreciation of Latin music, rhythms, culture and the art of playing for dancers. In 1965, Moses came together with the great Native American saxophonist Jim Pepper, and guitarist Larry Coryell, to form the Free Spirits, widely acknowledged as the first jazz rock band. The Free Spirits were the house band at Steve Paul's, "The Scene", where rock notables like Jimi Hendrix, Mtch Ryder, the Young Rascals, and jazz greats such as Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman and Gary Burton sat in to jam. After the Free Spirits disbanded, Moses, Coryell and bassist Steve Swallow became members of Gary Burton's groundbreaking quartet. This would be the first of three stints with Burton and included a memorable week at the Filmore West (1968 "Summer of Love") opposite Cream and The Electric Flag.

In the early 70's, Moses co-founded Compost, another vanguard jazz rock band with drummer Jack DeJohnette and saxophone great Harold Vick. Compost recorded two albums for Columbia and their explosive live sets always concluded with lengthy double drum workouts by DeJohnette and Moses, as well as a "People Sandwitch". In 1975, Moses created his own label, Mozown Records, to release Bittersuite in the Ozone. This early masterpiece for large ensemble, including Randy Brecker, Eddie Gomez, Dave Liebman, Stanley Free, Daniel Carter, Jeanne Lee, Howard Johnson, Billy Hart, and others, received 5 stars in Downbeat magazine and has been re-released on Billy Martin's Amulet Records.

During the mid and late 70's, Moses did a second stint with Gary Burton, played and recorded Bright Size Life with Pat Metheny and Jaco Pastorius, toured England with Michael Gibbs' Big Band, played and recorded with Hal Galpers' band, featuring the Brecker Brothers, played with Jaco's Word of Mouth band, with Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, and Othello Molineaux. In 1979, Moses recorded Family, later reissued in 1995 with extra tracks as Devotion on Soulnote Records featuring Dave Liebman (on tenor sax), Terumasa Hino, Steve Kuhn, and Steve Swallow.

For Moses, the 80's began with a 5-month sojourn to Brazil and Peru where he met one of his musical heroes, Hermeto Pascoal. From the early 80's through the mid-80's, he did some of his most important large ensemble works for Gramavision Records, recording When Elephants Dream of Music, Visit with the Great Spirit and the monumental double LP, The Story of Moses.

In 1987, on the magical day of September 23rd (John Coltrane's birthday), Bob, with guitarist and spiritual guide Tisziji Munoz recorded Love Everlasting (Amulet Records 003), a free music classic with Goerge Garzone, Jerry Bergonzi, John Medeski, John Lockwood, and others. In the late 80's, Moses formed Mozamba, an ever-evolving musical family of like-minded spirits, applying Moses' unique compositional style to funk and world music influences, creating a music that is great for listening and dancing.

The Mozamba Manifesto

To take the best aspects of jazz (i.e. spontaneity, interaction, subtlety, dynamics, beautiful melodies and sophisticated harmonies) and blend with the danceable grooves of funk, hip hop, second line, Brazilian, Afro-Cuban, African, and other ancient and future rhythm traditions to create a music that is a ritualistic, celebratory, artistic and spiritual experience.

Mozamba began in the late 80's and still exists today. Some of its illustrious contributors have included Stan Strickland, Tiger Okoshi, Bob Mintzer, Bob Gay, Darren Barret, Jacques Schwarz-Bart, Miles Evans, Bryan Carrot, Duke Levine, Dave Fiuczynski, Kai Eckhart, Matthew Garrison, Billy Martin, Ben Whittman, P.J.Adamson, Sa Davis, Phillip Hamilton, Alvin Roberts, and many others. These days, Mozamba features turntable wizard, Mr. Rourke, and often sitting in is Moses' talented son, rapper, Rafael.

Through the 90's, Moses has led various "Mozambiquian" combinations and has been changing, growing, and inventing new sounds and methods of making music. "Groove Canon", "Simulcircular Loopology", "Divisionary Melotivity", "Harmonic Drumming", and "Full Body Ride" are some of the radically different methods he has developed. Moses offers workshops and private instruction to anyone interested in learning more about these principals.

In 1993, Moses recorded Time Stood Still, his last great large ensemble work for Gramavision/Rykodisc, which received 5 stars in Downbeat.

On December 13th, 1997, Moses played on guitarist Tsziji Munoz's epic recording Alpha Nebula, The Prophecies", available through Anamimusic.com. Moses considers this the most powerful music he's ever been part of. "It's intense, scary, and definitely not for the meek. I love it, particularly because I don't recognize my playing at all. I'm just part of the majestic, transcendent, celestial mess".

In July of 1998, Moses recorded Nishoma on Grapeshot Records, a jazz ballads or "heart songs" album dedicated to his extraordinary mother, Greta Moses (1917-1997), featuring Abbey Lincoln, Luciana Souza, Steve Kuhn, Chris Wood, and master tap-dancer Jimmy Slyde, among others. This album features beautiful melodies, unusual harmonies, and is a heartfelt look back of some of the forces that helped shape Moses' life. Currently, Moses teaches at the New England Conservatory, heads Mozamba, has been playing duo with saxophonist/singer Stan Strickland and sometimes pianist John Medeski. He has been fortunate to play with two great spirits of the music world, saxophonist Pharaoh Sanders and the great Sam Rivers.

"As for the present, with the help of my beloved spiritual teacher Bhapuji Tisziji Munoz the Archangel of Fire Sound, I, Rakalam (the inaudible sound of the invisible sun) have been moving toward a place of no self, no thought, no mind and no body. As I surrender to the original source Godfire, nature mind, sound healing, I become far more free of all human, earth time, ethnic, mechanical, karmatic gravitys and concerns thereby enabling and enobling me to enter the true Heart Domain of selflessly aware Buddha zero creative infinity. I've never felt lighter, happier, and creatively free as I do now and this is just the beginning."
- Bob Moses, July 2001

Moses' biography

Moses' official press biography

Bittersuite in the Ozone (1972)

Love Everlasting (1987)

Gramavision recordings

©2004 Amulet Records