A Bona-fide rising star
Richard Bona burst into jazz and fusion with his extraordinary bass talents, but he'll woo you with intimate songs in the language of his native Cameroon, too.
By MICHAEL BERRY
Richard Bona came to prominence on the fusion scene in the mid-'90s when he was handpicked out of virtual obscurity to hold down the bass chair for one of the most prominent working bands in fusion, Weather Report founder Joe Zawinul's Zawinul Syndicate. It was with the Zawinul Syndicate that Richard wooed audiences around the world with his fluid and funky bottom-end grooves and
sensitive fretless work. Richard went on to work with everyone from Michael and Randy Brecker and Larry Coryell as a member of Coryell's newly reformed Eleventh House, to Harry Belafonte, for whom he served a year-and-a-half stint as musical director of his band.
However after several years as sideman, Richard Bona has finally made his own, very personal, musical statement with "Scenes from my life", his brilliant 1999 debut recording as a leader. On "Scenes from my life," Bona's bass wizardry takes a back seat to his skills as a writer, singer, producer, arranger and multi-instrumentalist. A native of Cameroon, West Africa, Bona sings in his native language of Douala creating a breathtaking soundscape of twelve sensitive aural poems which combine jazz, funk, and pop, with traditional African rhythms and melodies. It takes only one listen to the ethereal beauty of Bona's voice, which has been compared to Youssou N'Dour, on "Eyala" to know that this is a star in the making.
|Richard Bona (bass, guitar, vocals)|
Jean-Michel Pilc (piano)
Jonathan Joseph (drums)
Aaron Heick (saxophone).
Related links: Official site
This October Bona brings his unique musical vision to the Upper West Side for a six-night stint at the Iridium. Live, expect fiery extended solos from Richard and his band, and stunning interplay between Bona's voice and Aaron Heick's soprano saxophone reminiscent of Joni Mitchell's mid-'70s work with Wayne Shorter. In a September performance at Joe's Pub, Bona even served up a beautiful fretless medley of Jaco Pastorius tunes including "Amerika" and "Continuum". Also look for Bona's breathlessly beautiful solo section in which, accompanied only by himself (alternately on fretless bass, acoustic guitar, and thumb piano), he goes from bringing you to tears to bringing the house down. See this charismatic genius-in-the-making in an intimate setting before he starts playing across the street at Avery Fisher.
|OCTOBER 1, 1999|
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Reader comments on Richard Bona:
Lyrics from Sampha Jalloh, Mar 10, 2002
smooth from Haiwen, Apr 17, 2003
Amazing from Duncan MacFarlane, Jun 3, 2002
BRAVO from Mounchili, Nov 18, 2002
Style from Ngale Ndiva, Dec 10, 2002
Hope from Pat Metote, Apr 30, 2003
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