Cheick Tidiane Seck: Kelena Fôly review | Ammar Kalia’s global album of the month

(Komos)
The musician’s gravelly baritone transmits a lifetime’s experience on an adventurous album that embraces imperfection

There are few places to hide on a solo piano record. The often fragile and expressive format has been a gauntlet for some of music’s great improvisers, including Abdullah Ibrahim on 2021’s Solotude and Keith Jarrett on his bestselling 1975 record The Köln Concert. Malian master musician Cheick Tidiane Seck now provides an entry into the canon with Kelena Fôly – his first solo album in an almost 50-year career.

Making a name for himself as a versatile keys player capable of backing the likes of vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, free jazz saxophonist Ornette Coleman and Damon Albarn, Seck’s four albums as bandleader have experimented with synth-funk, vocoder and an earthy sense of groove.

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