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!