Sublime Malian blues dance music from St Germain.

Hard to believe it’s been 15 years since St Germain’s epic LP Tourist gave us Rose Rouge, and some other seriously well produced jazz house tunes that still sound fresh as a daisy. Would you believe it, french producer Ludovic Navarre is back with a third LP called simply ‘St Germain’, and it’s every bit as slick as his previous work. The signs were clear in ‘Tourist’ that he loved the blues, after all the tune ‘Sure Thing’ featured John Lee Hooker. This time he’s followed a well trodden route taking the blues back to the supposed Malian source. Ali Farka Toure and Tinariwen have already made careers out of exploiting this link, but it’s a rich vein and a long way from being tapped out. Navarre manages to add his own trademark slickness to the production and some straight up dance music stylings that take the Malian blues thing into new territory. So many fusion experiments fail by reducing the styles being fused to a pastiche. I’m thinking of some of the appalling attempts to fuse Jazz and hip hop in the early nineties, which ended up being neither jazz nor hip hop. Navarre doesn’t do that here though. This works though and for anyone that loves Malian music already it will be a joy to listen to. In addition to the Malian vocalists, the LP features kora, balafon, n’goni and some sublime guitar. In short I love it.

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