Sunday, May 14, 2006

KORA JAZZ TRIO - Part Two (Celluloid)

The Paris-based Kora Jazz Trio comprises the legendary Guinean 32-string kora player and vocalist Djeli Moussa Diawara, and two Senegalese musicians - Abdoulaye Diabaté on piano and Moussa Cissoko on calabash.
They race through twelve songs of agile improvisation, Diawara's deft kora work extemporising around Diabaté's persistent hammering, while Cissoko somehow manages to maintain the rhythmic pace. There are five compositions apiece from Diawara and Diabaté, and from a roots perspective the standout track is Djeli Moussa's swinging Mandé tune Seyo, complete with a nice piece of New Orleans-style rolling piano and a passable impression of the solo acoustic guitar playing of Super Rail Band's Djelimady Tounkara. There are two cover versions that sum up the extremes of a faultlessly delivered but quite challenging recording. Thelonius Monk's Rythm'ning shuffles along to some adroit Cuban-style piano, but Charles Trenet's La Mer is subject to a corny trip back to Diabaté's cocktail-bar past with Diawara imitating the part of a high-pitched honky-tonk piano.

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