On Earthborn Tales of Soul and Spirit John Moulder finds the beating heart of music in the quietude of meditation and silence broken only by the promptings of the Holy Spirit, which coalesces around the music of this joyous disc – the fifth that the guitarist has recorded with Origin Records. Moulder is a prophetic jazz embodying spiritual values that affirm the freedom in speech and music which serve as vehicles to express his spirit and its quest for the divine.
If you’re wondering where John Moulder finds the inspiration for his ‘hymn of the universe’ the answer is in the depth of profoundly beautiful notes and phrases intoned in the warmth and sustained emotion of the strings of his guitar. Shaping phrases as if they were invocations to the communion of saints Moulder raises up his voice in three suites bookended by songs that reach out to the rarefied realm; the one on which he has affixed his mind’s eye through the first notes of “Earthborn Tales”.
In the triptych, “Journey to the East”, John Moulder back along the path of the Magi seeking to find a way to the all-consuming fire of the human spirit. His (Moulder’s) “Soul in Twilight” might be liked John of the Cross’ infinitely bleaker Dark Night of the Soul. “Ruby’s Way”, on the other hand is lit up by praise for a brave child and worshipful thanks for the inspiration of the divine. In Paul Wertico, John Moulder seems to have found a kindred spirit with whom Moulder has shared these narratives of Soul and Spirit.
Moulder is part of a long line of musicians who have found solace in spirituality. However, like Pierre Teilhard de Chardin he has expressed what he found in this Hymns of the Universe that he sings together with Wertico, Steve Rodby, Donny McCaslin, Marquis Hill, John Trompeter, Eric Hochberg, Larry Gray, Xavier Breaker and Kalyan Pathak. And by praying through his instrument he has found spiritualism much bigger than just guitar, amplifier and speakers, to The Word himself.
Listening to Earthborn Tales of Soul and Spirit, one is made privy to a slowly burning disc albeit with brightly glowing embers that reveals new dimensions to the sonic miracles from a group fronted by an unassuming, elegant guitarist. And as John Moulder preaches, intimate dialogues are exchanged with other musicians who each of whom are gently swayed by the “sacred” and the “secular”, words continue to power the missives of John Moulder, priest and musician.
Track List – 1: Earthborn Tales; 2: Journey to the East – Part One; Journey to the East, Part Two; Journey to the East, Part Three; 5: Soul in Twilight (Intro); 6: Soul in Twilight; 7: Ruby’s Way, Part One; Ruby’s Way, Part Two; 9: Farther Reaches.
Personnel – John Moulder: electric and acoustic guitars; Donny McCaslin: tenor saxophone; Marquis Hill: trumpet; Jim Trompeter: piano; Steve Rodby: acoustic bass (1, 4 & 6); Eric Hochberg: acoustic bass (2, 3, 7 & 8); Paul Wertico: drums (1, 4, 6 & 9); Xavier Breaker: drums (2, 3, 7 & 8); Kalyan Pathak: tabla (2, 3 & 4).