On Rakalam Bob Moses of The Free Spirits
By Sean Aaron Cruz
“Drummer, composer, artist, poet, dancer, visionary, nature mystic (Rakalam) Bob Moses's life has been a continuous quest for vision, spirit, compassion, growth, and mastery in a multiplicity of art forms.”—New England Conservatory
Among the four members of the legendary, pioneering jazz-fusion band The Free Spirits coming to Portland in August to celebrate their friend and bandmate Jim Pepper is world-renowned master drummer and educator Rakalam Bob Moses.
Photo by Andrew Hurlbut
Born in New York City, Bob Moses began his career as a teenager performing with the great Rahsaan Roland Kirk. In 1965, Bob Moses, guitarist Larry Coryell, bassist Chris Hills, guitarist Columbus Chip Baker and Jim Pepper formed The Free Spirits.
The Free Spirits jazz-rocked New York City in 1965-67, releasing just one LP, Out of Sight and Sound, before parting, each taking his own path, and now more than four decades later reuniting in the neighborhood where Jim Pepper first picked up his saxophone.
Jim PepperFest 2013: Rise of the Free Spirits
The Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival
Parkrose HS Performing Arts Center, Portland, Oregon
August 7-10, 2013
Trevor, from When Elephants Dream of Music
"Bob Moses has now emerged as the possessor of one of the grander imaginations in America's true classical music. No orchestral composer of this scope, mellow wit, and freshly distinctive range of colors has come along since Gil Evans."-Nat Hentoff, Modern Recording and Music
“Bob Moses, composer, drummer, poet, artist, conceptualizer, inspirer of people, has created a musical environment that is balanced, between discipline and freedom, compositional design and spontaneous inspiration. A party with a purpose. This album is original, soulful, funny…and very special. I hope a lot of people get as much enjoyment from it as I have”. –Gil Evans
–on On Time Stood Still
"Leave it to Moses, a multi-directional shamanistic groovilator, to put all the pieces together. On Time Stood Still, another sprawling production of DeMille-ian scale. He seamlessly blends Monk, funk, tap, hip hop, bebop, big band, blues, Bahia, Tanzania, and the avant garde into one organic package while paying homage to the spirits of Gil Evans, Charles Mingus, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, and Jaco Pastorius."-Bill Milkowski, Down Beat
This article was written while the author was listening to and under the influence of When Elephants Dream of Music.
The Jim Pepper Native Arts Festival is a project of the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission and its partners:
The Regional Arts & Culture Council
Parkrose Neighborhood Association
Parkrose School District
KBOO 90.7 FM Community Radio