best of 2003 August 2004 issue
One of the 10 best of 2003 - Chris Porter, Washington City Paper
THE CODA TOP TEN OF 2002 - Selected by Duck Baker
"MALIcool was more than entertaining. They were a revelation. It proved to be a mesmerizing ensemble sound. Fans were left with an uplifting fusion of culture and music that had many in the audience up on their feet dancing."
Denis Armstrong, The Ottawa Sun, 6/26/04
"MALIcool is an album of unusual beauty.The result is harmonic heaven.The music is at once playful and poignant, mournful and melodic. It cuts across so many borders that you don't have to be a fan of jazz or world music to appreciate it. You just have to like good music."
Steven Israel, Times Herald Record 1/24/03
"The concert performance of Rudd's MALIcool repertoire proved even more effective than the CD, letting listeners savor details of of color and intricacies of rhythm that are lost on recordings . The rest of the ensemble deepened the cross-continental connections indelibly linked African rhythm with visceral, hard-driving jazz swing."
Howard Rich, Chicago Tribune 9/20/04
"The haunting beauty of the group sound is evident from the opening "Bamako", the simplicity of its harmonies balanced by the shifting of constant cross-rhythms. The virtuosic abilities of the traditional players is given free space here, and is open to your admiration. This is something on a higher plane that listeners should relish."
Anthony Troon, Jazz Review
"A musical work full of tenderness, at the meeting place of two worlds."
La Voix du Nord, 19.6.02
"On MALIcool, there's a real mutual effort to listen, to find a path to each other. And that is very rare."
Le Nouvel Observateur, 13.6.02
"It's a beautiful fusion .The adapataion of these Malians to Roswell Rudd's phrasing (even on Thelonious Monk) is surprising. A very, very good record."
La Marseillaise 2.6.02
"Now Rudd amazes us again with a fascinating west African influenced album. MALIcool documents one of the rare encounters in which there is a real fusion between Jazz and African music and not just a superficial merger."
"Something happened between these two creators, Roswell and Toumani . Something that a thousand million polished productions, images from a tamed Africa, will never possess And everything about this journey rests on a latent ambiguity, the precarious balance of chemistry."
Arnaud Robert, VIBRATIONS 5/02
"Rudd's arrangements of Thelonious Monk's "Jackie-ing" and Mali-fied vamps on Gershwin's "Summertime" and Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" redefine world jazz."
S.D. THE PROVINCE 11/02
"To Rudd's credit, he has crafted arrangements that are sensitive to the formal, tonal and textural differences. Always a pithy and expressive player, here Rudd is forced to make even more spare and judicious choices, which pays off. His big broad tone serves as a nice complement to the airy, almost ethereal combination of kora, ngone, and balafon."
-Larry Blumenfeld, JAZZIS May 2003
"Roswell Rudd and Toumani Diabate's MALIcool de-emphasizes rhythm and slows down the tempos, but
because of the sophistication of the musical approach, the intended aesthetic effect is more strikingly realized. If at this moment we're living in a world of tears, we need musicians like Rudd and Diabate, and the music they make together, more so than ever."
- Michael Tatum, STATIC 2/17/03
Roswell Rudd has written yet another inventive chapter for the trombone and produced a CD that effectively introduces his instrument and its unique coloration to the Manden Jaliya. He has made a bold musical statement without changing the overall sensibility of the West African idiom. Such sensitivity is rare in world-jazz projects. Welcome back, Roswell.
Elliott Simon All About Jazz: New York.