'Mali Latino' is a stunning album - maximum five stars! This is definitely on my shortlist for our 2010 World Music Album of the year... -- Glyn Phillips, Worldmusic.co.uk
Dazzling excursion into the fusion of Latin music with West African rhythms - **** -- Nigel Williamson, Uncut, October 2010
Takes jazz and Latin rhythms back to their African roots while still sounding dynamic and modern... Wilson has crafted a classic - **** -- Songlines Magazine Top of the World album, Nov/Dec 2010
British-born Renaissance man Alex Wilson has sweated buckets over this project, which sees him fusing Mande and Afro-Latin sounds with the aid of two stellar Malian musicians: balafon (xylophone) player and multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Fofana (from the Symmetric Orchestra) and kora maestro Madou Sidiki Diabaté, brother of the equally dextrous Toumani. Having travelled back and forth to Bamako, then unveiled the magic of their coming together in a live premiere commissioned by the Aldeburgh Music organisation in Suffolk, the award-winning pianist and composer set about recording this album with the help of a private investor. Who then promptly pulled out.
That this quite gorgeous disc is now seeing the light of day is testament to Wilson's belief that he was on to something special. Featuring an additional cast of horn players and percussionists, and guest vocalists including the jelimuso, or griot, Kandia Kouyaté, Mali Latino shimmers and shoulder-shakes its way through 12 varied and consistently excellent tracks. Wilson has previously explored links between soul and gospel to East Indian and Brazilian styles; with Mali Latino he takes jazz and Latin rhythms back to their African roots while still sounding dynamic and modern. Opener `Donkan' sets the pace: a rollicking dance tune featuring sublime balafon playing, cascading kora and urgent brass, framed by clever arrangements. Aoua Kassé Mady Diabaté, daughter of legendary griot singer Kassé Mady Diabaté lends her sweet pipes to `Sangre Mandinga'. `Bomba Bambara', meanwhile, sees a host of wonderful African voices vying and blending, book-ended by Wilson's inspired piano. The effort, then, has paid off. Wilson has crafted a classic.
© Jane Cornwell -- Songlines magazine #72 - Top of the World album review