13 Songs, 58 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like the Delta Blues mesmerists to whom he is perhaps too often compared, the late Malian guitar maestro Ali Farka Touré was a master of transforming the notion of the “just noticeable difference” into a hypnotic musical principle. It's a principle Junior Kimbrough, John Lee Hooker, and James Brown also knew, and like the work of those artists, Ali Farka Touré’s music gains much of its power from his ability to extract minute, just noticeable variations from the prolonged repetition of a seemingly simple musical phrase. With the aid of local Malian musicians and former James Brown saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, Touré works the loping pentatonic grooves of Savane into extended meditations of matchless grace and fluidity. The guitar work on Savane is positively incandescent; Touré's serpentine lead imbues tracks like “Banga” and “Hanana” with a seething improvisational tension that builds as his accompanists strain to adapt themselves to his tricky phrasing. Recorded shortly before Touré's death in March of 2006, Savane stands as the final musical testament of a true original.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Like the Delta Blues mesmerists to whom he is perhaps too often compared, the late Malian guitar maestro Ali Farka Touré was a master of transforming the notion of the “just noticeable difference” into a hypnotic musical principle. It's a principle Junior Kimbrough, John Lee Hooker, and James Brown also knew, and like the work of those artists, Ali Farka Touré’s music gains much of its power from his ability to extract minute, just noticeable variations from the prolonged repetition of a seemingly simple musical phrase. With the aid of local Malian musicians and former James Brown saxophonist Pee Wee Ellis, Touré works the loping pentatonic grooves of Savane into extended meditations of matchless grace and fluidity. The guitar work on Savane is positively incandescent; Touré's serpentine lead imbues tracks like “Banga” and “Hanana” with a seething improvisational tension that builds as his accompanists strain to adapt themselves to his tricky phrasing. Recorded shortly before Touré's death in March of 2006, Savane stands as the final musical testament of a true original.

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