Zoji by Wingfield, Chapman, and Adewale

Release date: January 1, 2021
Label: MoonJune Records

This here was quite an unexpected release to start 2021 off from the MoonJune label. This is also the 20th anniversary of the label’s formation that was launched by Leonardo Pavkovic. I’ve always been intrigued to see and hear what the label has up their sleeves. This time it’s from Mark Wingfield, Jane Chapman, and Adriano Adewale and their latest release, Zoji.

It feels like an alternate recording from the early ‘70s of the ECM label that either John Abercrombie or Terje Rypdal had left off. When the trio brought these incredible compositions to life, each of them had some idea on where they wanted to go that was far beyond the Jazz structure. It is a flowing portrait of a Jackson Pollock painting brought to life.

Recorded at both Heron Island and Drayton Garden studios in London, Zoji is like a story that is told in front of a campfire in a spiritual manner. ‘City Story’ opens the album up with the pearly gates to reveal its pure heavenly choirs between the trio for this piece of an angelic renaissance as Mark creates these arpeggiated textures for Adrian to catch up for his percussions as Jane’s harpischord goes into a dark segment to get the ball rolling.

Jane creates this intense introduction on the ‘Persian Snow Leopard’ to make her instrument go haywire for this animal to eat its prey at any second. Complex changes, she gives both Mark and Adriano some real ammunition before Adriano scats into some heart beating effects to give both Mark and Jane some ideas with leeway for the drummer to travel towards the hottest part of the jungle.

Both ‘Parallel Time’ and ‘Wind Falls Cliff Rise’ sees the clock ticking rapidly as Jane and Mark race towards this hypnotic finish line as if Terje himself have given the two of them a chance to go into this labyrinth maze that has become a big challenge for them. The trio goes into an effect of ramming speed as they screech for a complete halt for Adewale adding the heat levels to 112 degrees Fahrenheit. As for Mark, he carries that heavy crying to the gods on his instrument by getting caught in the middle of a heavy ice storm. And it is a night that the trio will never forget to be caught in that dangerous weather that is going to be an evening they’ll never forget.

The two inspirations for both ‘Pasquali’s Dream’ and ‘Prelude Sinueux’ comes from both Nicolo Pasquali’s book released in 1763 entitled, Thorough-bass Made Easy and an anonymous unmeasured prelude from the 18th century, sees Jane going through some brutal procedures to create this strumming sound inside of her instrument by using a pencil.

She gives Mark to push the levers as hard as they can go to make it a heavier and brutal effect that opens the doors widely as ‘Viaduct Road’ travels into the territories of the Irrlicht-era of Klaus Schulze. Wingfield’s soundscapes fill up the voids by going into the end of the race duel between Jane and Adriano’s arrangements in a mid-tempo march.

The album contains liner notes by Sid Smith about the making of the album along with an interview with Mark and Jane and the history they have together making music. Zoji brings the essence of Ambient-Soundscaping-Classical Jazz structures, but for Wingfield, Chapman, and Adewale, Zoji is an embracing challenge that will take you on a spiritual adventure that is light years away.

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