Playing a blinder on the new Dhafer Youssef album Street of Minarets Silk and Sand is every bit as good east meeting west - and whisper it the great Vietnamese-French guitarist Nguyên Lê's best record yet, and that's saying a lot given his many achievements over the years mostly Loch-ed Down on ACT. Why that is perhaps is the sheer comfort you find him in here. But there's more than that. Yes, the instrumentalism is dazzling. For his sound make the leap from the microtonalism of David Fiuczynski, add in a bit of John McLaughlin and you are half way there plus factor in a lot of Asiatic dreaming and non-western scales journeying even deeper. Here Nguyên is with bassist Chris Jennings and percussionist Rhani Krija. It's a power trio sound that joins the dots across so many genres and yet connects most with a hot fiery blues sensibility and particularly if you like the adventurous innovations of the 1970s. The bottleneck reverberations on 'Becoming Water' are a feat for one. Guests are Sylvain Barou on the flute and duduk, Miron Rafajlovic trumpet & flugelhorn and the great Étienne Mbappé on electric bass. A pleasure from beginning to end.
Nguyên Lê photo, photo: Sylvie Laurent