AMN Reviews: The Touré-Raichel Collective – The Tel Aviv Session (Cumbancha)

Idan Raichel
Idan Raichel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As it rises dazed and bleeding from the blitzkreig of rape and pillage by a crazed sect bent on destroying its cultural legacy, let’s think about Mali for a few minutes and its unique and disproportionate contribution to music. The annual Festival of the Desert outside Timbuktu, cancelled this year due to the unrest, has grown into an international draw. Consider singer Salif Keita and the late guitarist Ali Farka Touré, the singular Tuareg collective Tinariwen, and kora player Toumani Diabaté, whose family history claims him as the latest in a line of seventy-one generations of musicians.

Ali´s son Vieux and Israeli pianist Idan Raichel bumped into each other at an airport in Germany. Raichel was effusive in his praise of Vieux´ music and although Vieux thought Raichel looked like a crazy hippie with those dreadlocks, it was instant karma. When they entered the studio and improvised this album together with Israeli bassist Yossi Fine and Malian calabash player Souleymane Kane, both say they discovered something new about their playing.

This is the heartwood of the musical encounter, as the colourful booklet records in detail, warm patter in the “I and thou” tradition, a relationship without bounds. The softly opening “Azawade” is so familiarly African it feels utterly universal while “Experience” is cozily Ashkenazic. On “Bamba” Touré and Raichal take turns making each other feel cozy so that each can trill solo – those are twenty very fleet fingers. Touré sings “Alkataou” into a small choir of triumphant smiles.

“Hawa” is a blues so blue it would be just as home in the desert as the delta. Yankale Segal´s tar, a long-necked lute, adds a shiver to “Kfar” and Frédéric Yonnet´s harmonica grit to “Touré”. “Le Niger” fairly cascades. And what a breath of fresh air is Israeli-Ethiopian Cabra Casay singing the Tigrit lyrics she penned for “Ane Nahakta” before the album closes with a flashy arabesque, Mark Eliyahu, originally from Dagestan, a Paganini on the violin-like, Central Asian kamanche.

It´s not as much something like you´ve never heard before, but you´ve rarely heard it so close up, so accomplished and at such a poignant moment.

Stephen Fruitman

Dusted Reviews

Editions Mego
Editions Mego (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From Dusted:

Artist: Ingebrigt Haker Flaten
Album: BIRDS / Steel / Live at Jazzfest Saalfelden
Label: Tektite

Artist: Kassel Jaeger / Giuseppe Ielasi & Kassel Jaeger
Album: Fernweh / Parallel/Greyscale
Label: Senufo / Editions Mego

Artist: Ensemble Pearl
Album: Ensemble Pearl
Label: Drag City

Jazz Listings From The New York Times

Andrew Cyrille
Andrew Cyrille (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Ran Blake/John Medeski/Claudia Quintet & Friends (Saturday) This celebration of the New England Conservatory’s influential Contemporary Improvisation department — _ now in its 40th year — will feature prominent alumni and faculty. Among them are Mr. Blake, Mr. Medeski and Anthony Coleman, searching pianists from different generations and vantage points; the Claudia Quintet, led by the drummer and composer John Hollenbeck; the violinist Eden MacAdam-Somer; and the distinctive vocalists Dominique Eade, Christine Correa and Sarah Jarosz. At 7:30 p.m., Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, at 95th Street, (212) 864-5400,; $28 and $38. (Chinen)

Kris Davis and Ingrid Laubrock/Circle Down (Tuesday) Ingrid Laubrock, a saxophonist, and Kris Davis, a pianist, share an aesthetic of unsettled calm and unhurried revelation; they appear on each other’s fine recent albums, and should have no problem distilling their rapport to its essence in this 9 p.m. set. Following suit, at 10:30 p.m., is Circle Down, a venturesome trio consisting of the pianist Angelica Sanchez, the bassist Chris Lightcap and the drummer Chad Taylor. Korzo, 667 Fifth Avenue, at 20th Street, Park Slope, Brooklyn,; suggested donation, $10. (Chinen)

Dave Douglas Quintet (Thursday through March 31) The industrious trumpeter-composer Dave Douglas recently broke in a new band, making two albums on his own Greenleaf label: “Be Still,” a contemplative recasting of Protestant hymns, with vocals by Aoife O’Donovan, and “Time Travel,” a more rambunctious postbop outing, due out in a few weeks. He’ll likely draw from both releases during this engagement, which begins a few days after he turns 50, and will feature Ms. O’Donovan alongside the members of the band: Jon Irabagon on saxophones, Matt Mitchell on piano, Linda Oh on bass and Rudy Royston on drums. At 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., with an 11:30 set next Friday and Saturday, Jazz Standard, 116 East 27th Street, Manhattan, (212) 576-2232,; $25 to $30. (Chinen)

Michael Formanek’s Cheating Heart (Saturday) Mr. Formanek, a bassist and composer drawn to scintillating frictions, seems to have put together this new ensemble with dynamic counterpoint in mind. Its front line features two alto saxophonists — Tim Berne, his longtime compatriot, and Peter Formanek, his son — and its adaptable rhythm section includes the pianist Jacob Sacks and the drummer Jim Black. At 9 and 10:30 p.m., Cornelia Street Café, 29 Cornelia Street, Greenwich Village, (212) 989-9319,; $20 cover, includes one drink. (Chinen)

Generations of the Beat Festival (Saturday and Sunday) Presented by Revive Music Group, this two-day affair will feature a heap of important jazz drummers, each taking center stage. Among the acknowledged masters on hand are Jimmy Cobb, who will play on Saturday; Andrew Cyrille, working with the saxophonist Oliver Lake on Sunday; Lenny White, leading a quartet on Sunday; and Billy Hart, wrapping things up on Sunday with the Elvin Jones Project. Among the others involved are Jeff (Tain) Watts, Kim Thompson and E.J. Strickland. Starting at 7 p.m., Drom, 85 Avenue A, at Sixth Street, East Village, (212) 777-1157,; $20 per day at the door; two-day pass, $20 in advance, or $25 at the door; students, $15 for two-day pass at the door. (Chinen)

Jenny Scheinman Trio Featuring Bill Frisell and Brian Blade (Saturday) Jenny Scheinman, a violinist, has a productive relationship with Mr. Frisell, a guitarist; they share a fondness for cosmopolitan rusticity and for an unfussy devotion to melody. Joining them here, as in a semi-recent club engagement, is Mr. Blade, a drummer of astute sensitivity and a good catalyst in any setting. At 9 p.m., Zankel Hall, Carnegie Hall, (212) 247-7800,; $40 to $50. (Chinen)

A Tribute to Paul Motian (Friday) Paul Motian, who died in 2011, was revered in jazz circles for the sly, suggestive economy of his drumming and the stark, deceptive ease of his compositions. This tribute, organized by the saxophonist Joe Lovano and the guitarist Bill Frisell — two of Motian’s closest collaborators over the last 30 years — will feature an abundance of musicians who knew him well. Appearing in various configurations, they’ll include the saxophonists Billy Drewes, Greg Osby, Mark Turner, Chris Cheek, Tim Berne, Ravi Coltrane and Tony Malaby; the pianists Masabumi Kikuchi, Marilyn Crispell, Geri Allen and Ethan Iverson; and the bassists Gary Peacock, Jerome Harris, Larry Grenadier and Ben Street. (Paying homage on drums are Billy Hart, Andrew Cyrille and Joey Baron.) At 7 p.m., Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway, at 95th Street, (212) 864-5400,; $45, $38 for members, $15 for under 30. (Chinen)

Classical Music Listings From The New York Times

English: Sufjan Stevens performing at the Pabs...


Attacca Quartet (Tuesday) This excellent young ensemble celebrates its debut album, “Fellow Traveler: The Complete String Quartet Music of John Adams.” The composer will be in attendance for the performance, which includes his String Quartet and “John’s Book of Alleged Dances,” a collection of 10 short pieces for string quartet and recorded rhythm track. At 7:30 p.m., Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, near Thompson Street, Greenwich Village, (212) 505-3474,; $20 in advance, $25 at the door. (Vivien Schweitzer)

Axiom (Thursday) Part of an exchange with the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, this concert joins students from that conservatory with counterparts from Juilliard. The contemporary works by American and Finnish composers include, Sean Shepherd, Elliott Carter, Anthony Cheung, Jukka Tiensuu and Veli-Matti Puumala. Susanna Mälkki conducts. At 8 p.m., Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, (212) 769-7406,; free with tickets. (da Fonseca-Wollheim)

D.J. Spooky (Saturday) This composer and hip-hop turntablist continues his season-long residency at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with “Of Water and Ice,” a work for string quartet and video inspired by the Arctic. At 7 p.m., Grace Rainey Rogers Auditorium, (212) 535-7710,; $30. (Woolfe)

‘Planetarium’ (Friday through Sunday) Picking up where “The Planets” composer, Gustav Holst, left off, a hip trio of talented artists — the singer-songwriters Bryce Dessner and Sufjan Stevens and the composer Nico Muhly — collaborate on songs inspired by the solar system. The projections are designed by Deborah Johnson, and Clarice Jensen, Rob Moose, Ben Russell and Nadia Sirota come together in a tantalizing new-music string quartet for the work’s instrumental opening part. Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 7 p.m., Howard Gilman Opera House, Brooklyn Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue, at Ashland Place, Fort Greene, Brooklyn, (718) 636-4100,; $25 to $65. (Woolfe)