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Reviewers: Don Mather, Dick Stafford, Marc Bridle, John Eyles, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby



The Tale

Universal 980 109-3



    1. Bonatology (Incantation)
    2. Kalabancoro
    3. Sona Mama
    4. Painting a Wish
    5. Engingilaye
    6. Dina Lam (Incantation)
    7. Balemba Na Bwemba
    8. Muto Bye Bye
    9. Bona Petit
    10. Couscous
    11. Playground

It must be my age, but I am bemused with the antics of record companies. Do they really want to sell records or do some have a death wish? For people like me who feel I know the name Richard Bona, but I donít know for what, there is not a scrap of help in the sleeve notes. The words for all the songs are there, but just how many of the listeners could, even if they wanted to, sing them in Douale, I am not sure. Even the record number is printed so small that I could not read it without a magnifying glass!

Help was at hand to me from Richards excellent web site, This is however of little use to the casual purchaser of records who will Iím sure move on to more familiar material.

Richard is a bass player, vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist. He was born in East Cameroon and received his musical education in France, where he got into jazz because of a love of the music of Miles Davies, Chet Baker and Ben Webster. He played in the highest Parisian jazz circles and was encouraged by guitarist Mike Stern to try his luck in New York. He got a job almost immediately with Joe Zawinul, playing on his ĎMy Peopleí album, a world tour followed. A year as MD for Harry Balafonte followed, along with gigs for The Brecker Brothers, Pat Methany, George Benson, Brandford Marsalis and many more. There can be no doubt therefore about Richardís street cred., as a jazz musician.

The album then is something different; it is obviously not targeted at the jazz market although some of the tracks contain some fine jazz playing. My assumption is that its purpose is to widen Richardís audience to a more general market. He is a very pleasant singer, an excellent musician, and an interesting composer and arranger but the product is really out of my field and I find nearly an hour of listening to vocals in which I donít understand a single word, a bit much!

Don Mather


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