Martin Meissonnier has a serious track record as producer having worked with, amongst others, Don Cherry, Khaled, Manu Dibango, Amina, King Sunny Ade, PapaWemba, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Seun Kuti. In a recent communication he turned me onto the album ‘University Of Gnawa’ which he’d just done with Aziz Sahmaoui, formerly the powerful voice of Orchestre De Barbes and it left me hungry to experience this band live.
There a series of illuminating shorts on Youtube describing the process behind the making of this album and it showcases the excellent musicians involved, all of whom, apart from Aziz, hail from Senegal – guitarist Hervé Samb, Alioune Wade – long-standing bass player for Ismaël Lo, and Cheikh Diallo – keyboards and kora. I’ve chosen this clip as the charismatic Aziz played with the late Joe Zawinul – “Working with Joe was a steep learning curve. With him I honed my listening skills, speed and endurance” – and it features them recording their interpretation of Zawinul’s ‘Black market’ – a track all Weather Report fans will be well familiar with.
Check out the album: University Of Gnawa (General Pattern)