(World Village/ Harmonia Mundi)
In a genre crowded with collaborations, a special kind of magic must occur for a recording to stand apart on the busy conveyor belt of contemporary jazz recordings.
Add too into the mix an element of timing and synchronicity, especially when the two principal participants come from backgrounds which are oceans and cultures apart.
Omar Sosa (Cuba) and Seckou Keita (Senegal) first encountered each other in London in 2012 with Marque Gilmore: a year later and they find themselves in a German studio to lay down some tracks for Transparent Water.
Fast forward a few years, an eternity in contemporary jazz, and the result of their chemistry, exploration and what underlines Sosa’s musical philosophy – a transcendent determination to see new combinations – is this wonderful 13 track opus.
From Dary to Thiossane, Transparent Water is a seamless weft of fortuitous brilliance, a flowing sense of elation and serenity which amounts to the most chilled antidote to the planet’s present obsession with chaos. Sustenance for the soul, in other words.
With other tracks (Tama-Tama and Moro Yeye) there is a manifestation of improvisatory freedom, ebullient to the core.
The recording’s patient evolution is testament to Sosa’s willingness to engage other musicians of note, such as Gustavo Ovalles, Wu Tong and Mikeo Miyazaki, and what surfaces is a compassionate flowering of musicians engaged in a conversation which isn’t in a hurry, and is liberated from time itself.
And what better instruments to ferry the suggestions of translucence that the grand piano of Sosa and the multi-stringed kora of Keita, segued bu the bata drums and maracas of Ovalles.
Opportunities to embrace an ethereal tide from the genius of Keita and Sosa are few and far between: Transparent Water is a marriage of minds consummated by the absolute absorption of the listener. Grab a copy and never let it go.