As I speak with notable musicians of my own generation, a generation younger than the members of the Mwandishi band, I am coming to realize how differently smart musicians respond to each period in the band’s development. For some, there was a startling intensity to the original and largely acoustic Sextet. For others, there was a pure, innocent and maybe organic quality to the recording ‘Mwandishi’. For others, the rich textures and exploratory qualities of ‘Crossings’ and the electronic interpolations on two of the tunes was most poignant. And for others yet, the startling integration of electronics and acoustical instruments on ‘Sextant’ struck the strongest chord. Too few people have heard ‘The Spook Who Sat By the Door’ sessions (not yet released in its original form) that share elements of Herbie Hancock’s past and future directions, to comment about what it meant to them.
Forty years later and people are just discovering the band – or rediscovering it anew. I’m struck by how many different ways people have drawn inspiration from the same recordings, and how what was learned continues to resonate.
Just a few more interviews with “musicians influenced by the Mwandishi band” to go… along with a few possible surprise additions, and its down to editing and just filling in gaps in the narrative.