Any duet album involving trumpet and drums these days, for me anyway, gets me thinking about Don Cherry and Ed Blackwell's Mu, an innovative two-record set recorded in 1969. That session was profoundly influential in its sparse instrumentation and the musical freedom and contrasting discipline it created.
Happily trumpetmaster-composer Wadada Leo Smith and vet drumming stylist Louis Moholo Miholo have been themselves, exceptionally so, for so long that there is no danger on their duet Ancestors (TUM 029) that they come across as imitators. Yet the spirit of Masters Cherry and Blackwell are comfortingly present, as those ancestors who have gone out of this world but whose presence is felt daily by those who occupy the improvisatory strata like Wadada and Louis do.
Ancestors gives us Wadada trumpet in a blazingly forthright zone; and dynamic post-before tradition from the drumming lucidity of Louis.
It adds much in terms of musical interest to their body of recorded work and it gives you the essence of their musical thinking, paired down to the absolute essentials.
You will be bound to like it like I do if you know these important musical-personal forces on the scene. It's essential small-group improvisation.