May 26, 2011

Vieux Farka Toure | The Secret

ARTIST:  Vieux Farka Toure
TITLE:  The Secret
LABEL:  Six Degrees
REVIEW:  Vieux Farka Toure has made quite a name for himself with his first two studios albums, a concert album and incendiary live performances that push his father Ali Farka’s desert blues stylings in the direction of Jimi Hendrix and other rock guitar gods.  So it’s not surprising that he’s looking to broaden his western audience by collaborating with well-known players in the rock and jazz idioms.  Although his duet with Derek Trucks (Allman Brothers Band) fall flat to my ears, the song he co-wrote with Dave Matthews (track 3) is one of the strongest on this session -- Matthews shades Toure’s minor-key chord changes in a more consonant direction and adds a characteristic vocal to a track that will satisfy the fans of both.  Jazzman John Scofield takes an opposite tack (10), moving Toure’s music farther outside with an improvisation that references American blues and North African modes.  And producer Eric Krasno (Soulive) gets down with Vieux on a two-guitar shootout (5) that rocks like the best of Vieux’s live gigs.  Vieux is much more a player than a songwriter, so some of the material here sounds like little more than a sketch.  I’m still waiting for his breakthrough album, but this is a quality addition to his body of work.
REVIEWER:  Bill Lupoletti
TOP TRACKS:    3    5    8    10

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