Folk Element Trio
Release date: April 16, 2021
Label: Outside in Music
The esteemed guitarist Adam Moezinia’s first album as a bandleader, Folk Element Trio, celebrates global folk traditions and the influence that the composer derives from them, with elements of Beninese, Malian, Welsh and American folk music in a jazz context. Folk Element Trio introduces audiences to Moezinia’s sophisticated, soulful compositional style and his refined improvisational facility. Bassist Dan Chmielinski and drummer Charles Goold fill out the remainder of Moezinia’s Folk Element Trio, the creative and cohesive unit that graces the album’s tracks.
This thoughtful and respectful display of musical synthesis seamlessly incorporates global musical idioms with the rich tradition of jazz, of which Moezinia is no stranger. Moezinia recalls “Since I was about twelve years old, I’ve been somewhat obsessed with the musical genre that we call “jazz”. That being said, I’ve also consistently immersed myself in many other styles… I was going through a period of frequent writing when I realized that almost all of my compositions contained a certain element, the “Folk Element”: elements from more simple, folk-based music, less commonly found in jazz. From there, I started upon a sort of musical exploration, discovering for myself some of the different kinds of folk music from around the world.” From there, Moezinia sought to compose with the simplicity, lyricism and rhythmic traditions of folk music in mind, while also incorporating the harmonic intrigue of jazz.
The album begins with the song “Celebration” which draws influence from Beninese and Malian music. Along with “Groove March”, “Celebration” is part of a larger piece by Moezinia entitled the “Ivory Suite” which is inspired by, among many others, Beninese guitarist Lionel Loueke and Malian singer Oumuo Sangare. The jubilant album-starter demonstrates the bandleader’s acuity for melodic invention as well as the stellar interplay that can be expected between these three masterful musicians on the remainder of the release.
Aside from Moezinia’s four original compositions, Folk Element Trio features four of the bandleader’s modern arrangements of timeless classics by such folk luminaries as Bob Dylan, Robert Johnson, and Duke Ellington (whom Moezinia espouses to be one of America’s most beloved folk composers, as jazz is America’s folk music). On Ellington’s “Azalea”, Moezinia’s electric blues/country guitar sound achieved through the use of a reverb and tremolo, contrasts with Goold’s sparse deconstructed New Orleans “dirge” rhythm to create a unique and evocative texture. Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright” features bassist Dan Chmielinski on the track’s melody with thoughtful accompaniment from Moezinia. One can’t help but note the beauty in the track’s nuanced changes in dynamics, and it’s clear influence by the work of Bill Frisell.
The album concludes with the Mississippi Delta blues anthem “Come On in My Kitchen”. This decidedly modern arrangement offers the classic melody with subtle reharmonization and a boogaloo groove. Featuring another stunning solo by Moezinia, the piece demonstrates the bandleader’s intensive study in the blues tradition. With Folk Element Trio, Adam Moezinia has created a spirited blend of tradition and innovation, honoring the folk traditions of several countries while creating a sound that is entirely his own.
DEE DEE MCNEIL
"This trio is sophisticated and intrinsically meshed together. They fit like fish to water, each contributing talent as individuals, swimming closely together in perfect harmony." Read this review here.
“Celebration” does just that – it celebrates the energy of West African, Appalachian and indie traditions, backed by a stellar rhythm section. Moezinia’s lyrical guitar solo is aided by the gentle phase effect over the groove, so we are still able to dance whilst happily getting lost in its cheerful melody. He’s certainly one to watch. Read this premiere here.
"Folk Element Trio introduces listeners to guitarist Adam Moezinia’s soulful compositional style and refined improvisational facility.." Read the full album announcement in The Week in Jazz here.
"Moezinia and company stake out their own imaginative territory on this rewarding collection. That he covers such broad stylistic ground on the release without sacrificing cohesiveness is particularly impressive." Read the full review here.