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Sometimes music blossoms in the strangest places. For instance, who would have thought that a superior example of Malian funk could be created in Norway? Nevertheless, this is the case with Malian vocalist and master percussionist Sidiki Camara, whose band consists of some of the best jazz musicians on the Norwegian scene.
Camara is known as a member of guitarist Bill Frisell's group The Intercontinentals, but he is also a well-established musician in his own right, having played with such Malian world stars as guitarist Ali Farka Toure and kora player Toumani Diabate.
Camara's deep knowledge of the Mande tradition really shines through on Tolerance, which also benefits from its Norwegian counterparts, guitarists Øivind Wang Tollefsen and Joakim Frøystein, who weave an intricate web of lines around the pulsating rhythms of Camara. Call-and-response patterns, funky fills, polyphonic percussive patterns and soulful saxophone licks form the main ingredients on the title track, which also features Camera's voice along with singer Dieudonne Vakote.
Tolerance has its own signature sound, where African rhythms are fused with jazzy elements and a surprising twist of country and blues. Thus, the weeping steel guitars on "Diarabi" and "Oumaye" add an extra spicy flavor to the already interesting mix.
It's hard not to be enchanted by the music on the record. Malian music is rooted in the bodily groove, but it also incorporates a contrapuntal sense of hypnotizing melodic patterns. Camara's music goes directly to the heart and plants itself into the feet. Supremely sculpted by ECM-associated Jan Erik Kongshaug, the album sports a warm and nuanced sound and the musicians transcend the idea of a regular session. Instead, the music becomes a celebration of life. From the Norwegian mountains to the African deserts, Tolerance deserves to be spread all around the world.
I love jazz because it mixes intellect and emotion in a very spontaneous way.
I was first exposed to jazz by liberating a Coltrane and a Pharoah Sanders record from a friend in NYC and listening to them over and over until I got it.
My advice to new listeners is you have to take the time to listen to some jazz tunes a number of times until it starts to make sense.