A very personal project for percussionist Bob Moses, Nishoma is a musical dedication to and remembrance of the drummer's mother, who died in 1997. Listening to it, one might very likely feel as though they've walked in on Moses' grieving. Family photographs fill out the CD booklet; laments and ballad tempos dominate the recording. In the liners, Moses even reprints a poem about his mother by Abbey Lincoln (who also closes the album with vocals on "How Deep Is the Ocean?").
Considered strictly on musical terms, Nishoma has much to recommend about it. The better of Moses' originals feature simple, often memorable, melodies over delicate harmonies. Sidemen Rossen Zahariev (trumpet) and Jacques Schwartz-Bart (tenor saxophone) play sparingly and sometimes movingly. Moses himself gives much life to the music. His bouncing accents buoy the tunes and keep them from becoming too introverted or ponderous.
Unfortunately, Nishoma also suffers from some left-field elements that distract from the music. Luciana Souza's airy scat tends to sound flaky. Tap dancer Jimmy Slyde joins Moses in the percussion section for a few tunes; it might have been fun to watch in the studio, but better left out of the recording. And the corny swishing-water sound effects on "Zawag" only make it sound as though Moses recorded from his bathtub.