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The Tel Aviv Session

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Album Review

Full marks to both Vieux Farka Touré and Israeli keyboard player Idan Raichel for this very daring venture. Going into the studio with two other musicians — on calabash and bass — to improvise and see what happens takes not only skill but also plenty of guts. Did it pay off? From the material here the answer is a resounding yes. This isn't about ego, it's about conversation — which also means plenty of listening. The musicians trade ideas, push each other along, and explore each other's cultures and ideas along the way. It's a sign of how far Touré has come, and how quickly, that he sounds completely confident in this situation and company, utterly holding his own. It's also an indication of how much music transcends any geographical borders and refuses to be placed easily in any pigeonhole. There are traces of jazz, blues, West Africa, and more, but they're subsumed in the completely different whole of the sound. There are guests on four tracks, the most outstanding being Mark Eliyahu on the eerie kamaneche fiddle, but they're icing on an already tasty cake. It's not all brilliant — for example, "Le Niger" seems more noodling, and unlike the river of the same name, doesn't seem to really go anywhere — but most of the time there's real exploration going on, a meeting of minds that grabs the attention, especially on the opener, "Azawade." It's music that breathes gently, establishing its own place, and providing a true reward for the listener.

Customer Reviews

An excellent Israeli-African fusion album

I have been anticipating the release of this album for months now and the collective do not disappoint. Their soulful, beautiful music is very refreshing and joyous. I would recommend this album to any fan of Raichel, Toure, African or Israeli music, fans of world music any anyone else who appreciates a very mellow, positive vibe.

Music to my soul



Not only is the album superb, but if you have a chance to see the quartet live, it will be a concert to remember. Saw them in Santa Cruz, CA on April 23rd.

The Tel Aviv Session, The Touré-Raichel Collective
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Customer Ratings