Abdul Tee Jay's Rokoto / Abdul Tee-Jay

Rokoto Make Me Dance Dance

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Calling Abdul Tee-Jay the "king of modern African guitar in the U.K." might seem like a back-handed compliment, but there is little doubt that the Sierra Leonian-born axeman can play his instrument like ringing a bell -- all you need do is hear the opener here, "Man Go Bondo," and the way he and the drummer work off each other for the climax of his solo. But his wonderful picking is evident throughout this compilation, the tracks taken from his three CDs. He's at his best when playing with a band, rather than on "E'Go Lef Pan You" and a couple of other cuts, which feature pretty much just himself playing everything; the freedom a band seems to bring out the best in his work, as on the glorious "Rokoto Jazz" (from which the album's title comes, and which isn't jazz in the Western sense at all). Tee-Jay is remarkably fleet-fingered and decidedly inventive, but equally happy filling a rippling rhythm role behind the vocals when needed. For those who haven't discovered him before, this is the perfect introduction to a true master of the fretboard.

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