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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

SAKÉSHO

By Michael Cowan
Published April 26, 2006

Heads Up

Listeners who have a taste for the sounds of the Caribbean—specifically, steel drums—will find much to savor in Sakésho, the debut disk from the jazz quartet, headed by steel pan virtuoso Andy Narell. Combining jazz sensibility with rhythmic structures from the French Caribbean, Sakésho will be of interest to fans of either genre. The band’s name, which means “it’s gonna be hot” in Creole, features Narell on steel pans, Mario Canonge on piano, Michel Alibo on bass and Jean Philippe Fanfant on drums. The French Caribbean is definitely a common theme here—Canonge and Alibo were both born in Martinique, and Fanfant hails from Guadaloupe. Individually, Sakésho’s members have played with some of the top names in the business, including Chucho Valdés, Aretha Franklin, Hugh Masekela, Salif Keita, Youssou N’Dour, Cheb Mami, Kassav and Angelique Kidjo. The disc’s eight tracks are based on, but not limited to, traditional French Caribbean forms—including the hallmark beguine, but also including calypso, mazouka, and Afro-Cuban.