Track of the Week "Gift of Three" is six minutes of frenzied, dark, twisted and effervescent sounds. Beginning with a tumbling beat and a snaky bass, this track is just one of the many gems on Tumi Mogorosi's first solo album Project Elo that places the drums in its centre, extending its purpose further than merely keeping pace. The operatic and disparaged voices by Themba Maseko, Ntombi Sibeko, Mary Moyo and Motuba in the choral section stand solidly next to the urgency of the brass, much like a 60s-era Max Roach in his aptly sombre album Freedom Now Suite. This composition is impressive, to say the least. Perfectly discordant and handsome, the shifting dynamics of loud and soft, sharp and benign make for a startling and thrilling track. This young man is clearly onto something.
Itumeleng Tumi Mogorosi is a South African percussionist and self-published frontman. At age 13 he began making music, with his primary interest resting with the guitar, and a few years later his skillset evolved to include playing the drums. After studying music at Tshwane University of Technology, his early career as an instrumentalist saw him playing alongside pianist Andile Yenana and trumpeter Feya Faku, as well as with jazz quintet The Trip. He branched out to greater heights, playing with Simpiwe Dana, Zamajobe and Africa Mkhize. After gaining such great experience in the jazz scene around South Africa, he decided to work on his first solo album, the “spiritual and earthy” Project Elo. The idea behind this album was to fuse jazz and choral classical music to create a new strain of meticulous and charismatic sounds. Mogorosi is joined here by a sextet including instrumentalists Malcolm Jiyane on trombone, Mthunzi Mvubu on alto sax, Nhlanhla Mahlangu on tenor sax and bassist Thembinkosi Mavimbela. The album comprises seven original songs that earned Mogorosi the attention of UK-based Jazzman Records, which re-released it in June 2014, allowing him to reap all of the benefits of sharing his talent across every continent at just 26 years of age.