When Tumi Mogorosi composed this suite for jazz musicians and opera vocalists he had never heard the previous successful attempts by Donald Byrd, Max Roach or Mary Lou Williams to combine these seemingly ‘unfriendly’aesthetics. Tumi, born in 1987 and already an accomplished drummer on the Jo’Burg scene, was at the time studying music at the Tshwane University of Pretoria where he became close friends with opera singers working on the same campus. So unlike some of his US peers Tumi’s beliefs are not ‘religious’.
Surprisingly, Tumi’s suite wasn’t influenced by these great elders’ masterpieces, but anyone who listens to this album will agree that the suite encaptures the soaring spirituality that made these experiments of the ’60s the beloved classics that they are today. Tumi does not belong to any religious group. This album is neither a jazz mass like Mary Lou William’s Black Christ of the Andes, nor a compilation of devotional pieces like Donald Byrd’s Christo Redentor. Project Elo stands for Project Elohim, the angelic entities of the spiritual scriptures which are in the drummer’s philosophy, a symbol for accomplished human beings. The spirituality the album conveys is attuned to a 21st century syncretic, non dogmatic vision infused with esotericism. Recorded live with no overdubs in two days by a group of friends, this album captures a moment of Eternity and will defy any idea you may have of what South African jazz is. Tumi’s music transcends labels and styles. When composing or playing he is only concerned with being true to the primodial source of life, which cannot be confined to any genre.
Available on 30/06/2014 on Vinyl and CD through Jazzman Records