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Ablaye Cissoko/Volker Goetze: Sira

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While German-born trumpeter Volker Goetze and Senegalese griot Ablaye Cissoko may seem an unlikely pairing, they create an enchanting ambiance with their delicate chemistry on this cross-cultural duet project. But there is little here for jazz fans to latch on to. Cissoko’s tunes and the traditional Senegalese numbers that he sings are all based on simple sing-songy melodic motifs that, while pleasant enough, go nowhere. There’s no harmonic or motific development, just an immersion into this sweet vibe created by the shimmering sound of the 21-string West African kora. And on a playing scale, Cissoko is no Toumani Diabaté, whose staggering virtuosity on the kora is several levels above what we hear on this disc.

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