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Red Earth - A Malian Journey

17 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 28, 2007
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Editorial Reviews



Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 28, 2007)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EmArcy
  • ASIN: B000TSMP1U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #123,445 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Rick Cornell VINE VOICE on November 30, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I hadn't gotten even halfway through this c.d. on first listen, before I had the distinct first impression that this is a masterpiece.

After a few complete listens, I'll temper my enthusiasm, but only slightly. I mean, Miles Davis' "Kind of Blue," Charles Mingus' "Let My Children Hear Music," and Duke Ellington's "In a Mellow Tone" are masterpieces, after all. But this is at the least a minor masterpiece. It also is one of the best vocal jazz c.d.'s of 2007 and quite possibly the best, and a c.d. which absolutely, positively deserves a Grammy nomination.

It also, IMO, is Dee Dee Bridgewater's career highlight. I loved her 2005 release, "Jai Deux Amours." In retrospect, however, that c.d. merely hinted at the greatness of this one. It's like she ripped the top off of the creative bottle, and what the genie has wrought is a wonderment to behold.

This c.d. is a testament to the human condition. The call and response of "Mama Don't Ever Go Away (Mama Digna Sara Ye)" or "Children Go 'Round (Demissenw)", for example, should play as well in Mali as in Manhattan--or Manitoba, for that matter.

But even more basically, this c.d. is to jazz as Paul Simon's "Graceland" is to pop. Which is to say, I cannot think of a better meld of American jazz to African music (including Dizzy Gillespie's "Kush"!). The rhythms throughout are stunning. With a percussion section of 5 or 6 African instruments throughout played by native Malians, and with jagged contrapuntal rhythms over 9/8, 7/8 and 8/8 (yes, "Long Time Ago" is in 8/8--not 4/4, not cut time) meters, this c.d. never ceases to fascinate metrically. And the Malian background vocals sound like the cultural precursor to American inner-city rap.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Chicago Indoor Soccer on July 15, 2007
Verified Purchase
Dee Dee is always ahead of the curve. I have seen and heard her since her days with Thad Jones, Mel Lewis Big Band. She is not afraid to try whatever she wants. Dee Dee loves to do themes as she has on the CD's like Love and Peace, Dear Ella, This is New etc. On this CD, Dee Dee finds her African roots with most of the tracks recorded in Mali, Africa.
There are several jazz standards [done with Malian musicians] which are great. The other tracks are also fantastic. One thing you can always count on with DEE DEE is the quality of the musicians and the sound quality. Both are superb throughout. Whenever Dee Dee lauches a new CD, she follows it with a live tour and generally does the songs from the new CD with most or all of the musicians involved. I can't wait to see this one!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Kowalski on December 20, 2007
Format: Audio CD
Absolutely gorgeous album combining Malian traditional music with vocal Jazz and Blues. Bridgewater is absolutely a trail-blazer and this album puts her way out in front. The musicians featured on the cd are the top in their field. The vocalists bring an authenticity and fullness of sound that makes each song an adventurous journey. By far, this is Dee Dee's best album to date. It is bold, vibrant and rich...just like Mali, just like Dee Dee.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T. Kowalski on July 24, 2007
This new cd is light years ahead of what most jazz singers are doing. Many have tried to do African inspired projects, but few ever bothered to fully immerse themselves in the culture and work with the indigenous artists. This album is on par with Paul Simon's Graceland as far as depth, breadth and scope, but Dee Dee's got the soul, charisma and pipes to make this stellar.

My favorite songs are "Compared to What", "Mama, Don't Ever Go Away" and "Four Women." If this album doesn't sweep the Grammy's I'd be shocked.

As always, Dee Dee is way ahead and a cut above!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michael Morin on June 27, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I can't do this album justice...a great fusion of jazz and Malian roots players, resulting in a world jazz album that is just a joy to listen to...Ms. Bridgewater's voice is beautiful, soothing, seductive, acrobatic...sometimes all at the same time, but the real star of this album is her vision in putting together such a significant piece of work...
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Format: Audio CD
This album turned out to be a total delight. I love the music I've heard from musicians from Mali --- everyone from Toumani Diabate to Amadou & Mariam --- but sticking a jazz vocalist such as Dee Dee Bridgewater in the mix ... well, I wasn't sure what to expect. I shouldn't have worried; the result is a terrific, lively album that exceeded my expectations.

I've only heard two other albums by Dee Dee Bridgewater, so I can't accurately compare this to most of her other work, particularly some of her recent projects, but this album, recorded entirely in Bamako, Mali (except for 3 tracks recorded in Paris with more musicians from Mali) succeeds on every level. Those joyful, intoxicating Malian rhythms paired with Bridgewater's expressive voice make for a most pleasing combination. Really, Bridgewater sounds relaxed and confident singing this material (a mix of covers and songs that she co-wrote with others), and above all, it sounds like she and the rest of the musicians are having a blast. The lovely cover photo of this CD conveys that spirit. This is musical joy.

If you are fan of music from Mali, I'd urge you to check out this "tribute" album. And if you are more of a traditional jazz fan, perhaps this album will motivate you to hear some of the artists who are featured. An enticing musical journey awaits!
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