November 14, 2010

AfroCubism | AfroCubism

ARTIST:  AfroCubism
TITLE:  AfroCubism
LABEL:  World Circuit/Nonesuch
REVIEW:  This is the record World Circuit’s Nick Gold intended to make 14 years ago in Havana, a jam session with some of Mali’s and Cuba’s finest musicians.  But the Malians didn’t show up, last-minute replacements gathered and recorded The Buena Vista Social Club, and the rest, as they say, is history.  Now they finally get to make that record, and it’s definitely worth the effort and the wait.  For me, the highlights here are the Malian songs (especially tracks 6, 9 and 11) – Eliades Ochoa and the other Cuban players add a certain urgency and earthiness to the Malians’ stately, serene approach.  Guitarist Djelimady Tounkara shines throughout – he’s simply one of the world’s greatest improvising musicians, and every single one of his solos and riffs here is a pleasure and a surprise.  Lassana Diabate, the least famous of the Malians, is outstanding on balafon (wooden xylophone); he’s greatly aided by Jerry Boys’ recording, which fully captures the room’s presence.  A pleasure from start to finish.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
RECOMMENDED TRACKS:    2    6    9    11

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