ORCHESTRA BAOBAB Specialist In All Styles (Nonesuch) Rating: NNNNN Rating: NNNNN
Even though Senegal's legendary Orchestra Baobab, led by original guitarist Barthelemy Atisso, put on an amazing performance in Chicago recently, there was some doubt if the reunited Afro-Cuban fusionists could ever recapture the magic of their sublime Pirates Choice sessions in the studio. But with dedicated fan Youssou N'Dour as producer, they somehow pulled it off. Specialist In All Styles has that wonderfully effortless swing and sizzle that made Pirates Choice so seductive, while the understated percussion leaves room for the entrancing interplay of Attisso's slinky guitar and Issa Cissoko's purring saxophone. Despite a vocal cameo by the Buena Vista Social Club's Ibrahim Ferrer, Specialist likely won't spark a similar Baobab-mania. But it's still one of the all-time great comebacks.