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Album Review

Coming off of 2005's Toto Bona Lokua, his world music collaboration with Congolese guitarist and vocalist Lokua Kanza and Martinique singer Gerald Toto, Cameroonian bassist/multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Richard Bona's fourth solo album continues the artist's exploration of the possible linkages of global fusion, jazz, R&B, and pop. Bona has already proven his value to others by lending his bassmanship to an array of artists ranging from Bobby McFerrin (whose scat-informed vocal style is not unlike Bona's) to Paul Simon, Chick Corea, and Queen Latifah. But Tiki is about the expansion of his own brand name, with Bona providing much of the keyboards, guitar, and percussion in addition to the fluid bass pulses and the smooth, unhurried vocals that permeate the set. Shuffling between African, Latin, Brazilian, and Western pop and funk rhythms and a grab-bag of harmonic colors and mesmerizing melodies, Bona's talents as a multi-tasker finally converge here into an unmistakable identity. Guests, among them multiple Grammy-winning singer John Legend (on the opening track, "Please Don't Stop"), Indian music vocalist Susheela Raman, Brazilian star Djavan, and jazz guitar dynamo Mike Stern all assist graciously. But the particular stew that is Tiki is all Richard Bona this time, the richest, most whole manifestation of his artistry to date.


Born: 28 October 1967 in Minta, East Cameroon

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Jazz bassist Richard Bona was born and raised in the West African nation of Cameroon, going on to session dates with Joe Zawinul, Regina Carter, and Bob James as well as a two-year stint as musical director for the great Harry Belafonte. He made his debut as a headliner in 1999 with Scenes from My Life, and two years later Reverence came out. In 2003, Bona made his Verve debut with Munia: The Tale, which explored the territories of rock and jazz while keeping his West African influences, and 2005's...
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Tiki, Richard Bona
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