Hank Jones and Cheick-Tidiane Seck: Sarala




Hank Jones (piano) and Cheick-Tidiane Seck (vocals, Hammond B-3 organ)


Hank Jones Meets Cheick-Tidiane Seck and the Mandinkas: Sarala (Verve 528 783)

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Hank Jones (piano), Cheick-Tidiane Seck (vocals, Hammond B-3 organ),

and the Mandinkas Band


Composed by Cheick-Tidiane Seck


Recorded: Paris, April 1995


Rating: 90/100 (learn more)

Sarala may be the strangest project that Hank Jones recorded, either as a sideman or as a leader. All the more so since this master musician, who played with almost everybody from Coleman Hawkins to Joe Lovano during the last 60 years, had never been to Africa when he met Seck and his musicians from Mali in Paris. When, after a couple of minutes, the solo piano emerges from the thick blend of African rhythms, singing, organ and electric guitar orchestrated by Seck, it sounds with the obviousness and clarity of a pure stream of water flowing through a dense tropical landscape. Jones and Seck sound like they’ve made the Mississippi and Niger rivers meet. And this musically successful meeting is also a very moving one, for obvious historical reasons.

Reviewer: Thierry Quénum

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