Guitarist and vocalist Leni Stern has already made a personal study of West African folk music, on albums like Africa and Dakar Suite. Her latest is titled 3 – a declaration of faith in the bond she has with bassist Mamadou Ba and percussionist Alioune Faye. But the album, just out on LSR Recordings, lays out all the proof you need.
– Nate Chinen, “Take Five”, WBGO 88.3 FM
Recorded as if it's right inside your skull, guitarist-singer Leni Stern's long-marinated African trio with bassist Mamadou Ba and hand drummer Alioune Faye brings out the intensity of focused quiet. The rhythms scrub your heart, but please attend the melodic/harmonic element, especially on "Calabas," whose ingenious chromatic progression inspires brilliant solos by Leni and husband Mike Stern – hers delicately twisted, his hilariously crazed.
– Greg Burk, MetalJazz.com
When it comes to the music of this disc, 3, by Leni Stern, we don’t need logic or any other intellectually-driven impulse. We are driven to “sing” and “dance” to every breathtaking possibility simply because of what is innate in this musical homage; indeed in every sonic image that is presented here by Miss Stern, Mamadou Ba and Alioune Faye. The vitality that comes from it – this music – is awakening, like being impacted by a series of solar flares from the nuclear corona of the sun. And this musical light is so special, so enormous and so dense that it might even enable to walk through a block of concrete should such an impediment arise en route to our celebrating this music . . . through her music and in her sublime artistry – has poured energy into the air around us. We, for our part, become changed forever because of her and the message she brings from Mother Africa.
– Raul da Gama, JazzdaGama
Leni Stern has long been a triumphant voice of inspiration. The truth and steadfast beauty of her lyrics and music has touched many hearts around the world.
– Jim Worsley, AllAboutJazz.com
Other newness to get excited about include tracks from Leni Stern’s new album simply called “3”…
– Ian Stewart, Community Idea Stations
Leni Stern continues her journey of successfully melding sounds of Western Africa with American jazz on this latest album . . . takin you on a journey through the Dogon cliffs.
– George W. Harris, JazzWeekly.com
When Leni Stern recorded her first album as a leader, Clairvoyant (Passport, 1985), she established herself as a lyrical and melodic jazz-rock fusion guitarist whose influences included Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, Bill Frisell and Jim Hall. Stern has also embraced everything from pop-rock to world music and her exploration of West African rhythms continues on her latest recording 3
– Alex Henderson, The New York City Jazz Record
She's been making recordings for over 25 years and has won Gibson’s "Female Jazz Guitarist of the Year" award five times. But when Stern met ngoni hero Bassekou Kouyate and his wife Ami Sacko thirteen years ago at Mali’s Festival au Desert, she plunged into the study of the African instrument and started to interpret the rhythms and tonalities of West Africa through a jazz lens.
– John Floridas, “Musician’s Spotlight”, Montana Public Radio
For the past 12-13 years, she has consistently stuck his fingers down to the pot with African honey, and this new album, 3 , is bridge building between modern European / North American jazz and West African rhythms. The music on the album features . . . love for traditions and the ability to innovate.
– Ivan Rod
Leni Stern’s music was always good — her fluid, powerful electric guitar exercised in a variety of settings — but she has really bloomed since she began her collaborations with African musicians.
– Paul Weideman, Santa Fe New Mexican, Pasa Tiempo
Few artists unite the American jazz tradition with world influences more effectively than genre-defying guitar adventurer Stern.
– Guitar Player Magazine