JFS #167 The Famoudou Don Moye Interview



The drums tell stories when played by masters. The traditional chanting with the drum elicits the spiritual sanctuary of slaves aboard ships sailing from Mother Africa to the islands. The slaves communicated amongst themselves, staying in the moment, keeping spirits high, as high as they could be.

The drum and its rhythms made their way through the steel bands of the Bahamas and Danny Ray playing Cungas  @ some Pink Flamingo Hotel in Miami Beach to Armando Peraza and George Shearin or Chano Pozo and Dizzy Gillespie.

But what about the stories, the poems the clave beat in Congo Square or Wayne State when my guest attended school. When traditional earthy Afro-Centric Jazzers were exploring Free Music. Totally unencumbered by time- The total African American Experience....in the moment all the time everyday.

My guest today is a creator. Forever creating his spirit transcends his own being. Some people wait a whole lifetime to figure this out. My guest started realizing his true nature back when Frank Strazzeri and Jimmy McGriff and Willis Jackson were blowing up Rochester at the social club his mom ran.

At Wayne State the neighborhoods were communities, tribes with different factions but an understanding of the music. The power of the music and the sophistication of the music. It might have been the Jockey Club with Jimmy Smith and Donald Bailey. Or at the London House where Ed Thigpen held down the groove with Oscar Peterson and Ray Brown.

The music and the rhythms have always been suppressed in this country which is why my guest is no longer living here. He lives in France where music is an inherent part of the cultural fabric of the people. It's a multi-colored fabric that reaches all across the world and acknowledged the great black musicians, artists and entertainers. You want to make 5 trillion dollars and be obligated to give nothing back to the culture then the US is the place to be.
If you want to be recognized and appreciated as an artist within a successful non communist system most African musicians moved to Europe.

All of a sudden we as a country are having big discussions about race. My guest felt this, saw this, experienced this decades ago and bounced out. He dug the Midwest what with his unheralded Black Artists Group of St. Louie.....when Dizzy and Blakey and Elvin were still circuiting this globe searching for that magic triangle of sound.

My guest left an imprint with the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians and The Arts Ensemble of Chicago which pleasured audiences here in the States and abroad what with their colorful attire, storytelling and sheer creative genius that told the story of their people. A story getting lost in the homogenization of the Americas.

My guest believes his number one goal is to please the audience, educate those who's ears are open and play on in the memory of Roy Brooks and Tony Williams and Buddy Rich and Joe Jones and Art Blakey and.........well.

Famoudou Don Moye welcome to the JFS



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