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Bona & Chambers with Stern


Wally Malone

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Richard Bona and Dennis Chambers are performing with Mike Stern at Yoshi\'s Dec. 19 through 23.

 

I caught Stern there before with Chambers on drums and Victor Wooten on bass. This time as well as the last time I saw them they will have Bob Francescini on sax.

 

Any bay area Lowdowners thinking about going to this one?

 

Wally

I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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  • 2 weeks later...

Talked to Jeremy a little bit ago and he's on his way to see this great show. I'm sure we'll get a great review from Jeremy on this one.

 

I'm still considering going and possibly Saturday night so I don't have to fight the traffic from where I live.

 

Wally

I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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I just got home.

There are three nights (six shows) left.

 

If it is at all possible, you MUST go to this show.

 

First of all it's Mike Stern's band. He is fluid, fast, sensitive, and comes out playing intensely from note one. He was also signing autographed cds before the show and between the two shows (and I'm sure he did after the second show as well).

 

I've seen him many times. Last time the bassist was Victor Wooten. Times before that it was Lincoln Goines, John Patittuci, James Genus.

 

This time the bassist was Richard Bona and he was better than all of them put together. Stern even commented at one moment, "these guys are kicking my ass tonight."

 

Bona didn't just play the parts: he was a full participant in the music. He grooved like crazy, used a variety of techniques that had the audience made up primarily of musicians (I saw a lot of my friends there) shaking their heads in disbelief. He also sang some of the melodies of the songs in unison with the bass and scatted along with some of his frightening solos. All during the show his playing made comments to Stern about what he was doing and there was a lot of laughter in the band at all the inside musical jokes that were going on. In addition to the band songs, He was given a long solo spot and he also did a duet with Mike. I've never seen Stern do that with any other bass player.

 

The drummer was Dennis Chambers and he was monstrous as well as tasteful...whatever was called for. During several of his solos, he was superimposing other time signatures on top of what the band was playing. During the most radical of these adventures, Stern and Bona were laughing at the audacity and amazingness of it.

 

The saxophonist, Bob Franceschini, held his own, despite being featured less than the others.

 

But I have never seen anyone like Bona. I can't even begin to list all of what he did. I'm still in shock.

 

Obligatory gear list: Richard Bona was playing a Fodera Emperor 5 string with a maple neck. It had a Willis ramp and it also had some kind of midi or synth pickup on it. He had an elaborate pedal board. His amp was a Walter Woods and he played through two SWR Goliath III 4x10 cabinets.

 

I'm still out of breath just from watching and listening to this band. Bona is a force of nature and it will take a while to absorb what I just saw and heard.

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Thanks for the great review Jeremy :cool:

 

After seeing Bona at the Monterey Jazz Festival in September I knew this show would be worth catching. Looks like I'll have to get on Yoshi's site today and grab me a ticket for Saturday night.

 

Wally

I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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Sounds like my various experiences seeing Richard Bona. The man is just scary. He is one of the most musically gifted people I have ever witnessed. With him it's not just raw skill (which he has to spare); he has a feel and awareness about him that is just unparalleled. Whatever he's doing in the musical situation you can guarantee that his contribution is going to be extremely tasteful. I aspire to be more like him in that regard. I think everyone should.
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Thanks for the review Jeremy. Mike Stern is featuring great bassists so heavily right now.

 

"The saxophonist, Bob Franceschini, held his own, despite being featured less than the others."

 

This is fairly typical of the new CD too where the guitar and bass solos vastly outnumber the keyboard or horn solos.

 

Bona is is a natural wonder!

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Originally posted by Phil W:

I have Mike Stern's new record 'Who Let the Cats Out?' which is a wonderful CD - one of my all time favourites.

 

http://www.kimthompson.info/imagesmikestern2_resize.gif

 

Great CD! :love:

Based on what I read here, went out and bought the CD. I don't have a lot of jazz music, just some Miles, Stanley Clarke, Billy Cobham's Spectrum, Al DiMeola, and the like. LOVED IT! This is my introduction to Stern, Bona, etc. Wow! Did I mention I love it? Listened to it 4 or 5 times aready. It also sounds good really LOUD.
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I'm kickin' myself for not going to this. My wife wasn't into going this time and I tried to find someone else to hang with. Didn't find someone and ended up not going. I'm glad I did get to catch Bona doing his thing at the Monterey Jazz Festival.

 

Wally

I have basses to play, places to be and good music to make!
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Originally posted by tnb:

Please allow me a few seconds to "playa hate".

 

Nobody EVER comes to Indiana. Not that I blame them. Must make pilgrimage to Chicago.

Try living in western North Carolina! I have relatives in Bloomington, In. and it seems to be a cultural Mecca when compared with Morganton, NC.

 

So far, I have only experienced Bona through YouTube (thanks Phil) and will probably buy the Stern CD based on what I have learned here.

My whole trick is to keep the tune well out in front. If I play Tchaikovsky, I play his melodies and skip his spiritual struggle. ~Liberace
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I have all of Richard Bona's cds. Seeing him play with Mike Stern was completely different.

 

His own recordings feature him as a singer/songwriter and he plays guitar and bass and writes everything. The music is very pleasant West African music (which I like and have a large collection of).

 

With Mike Stern, he did sing (and did some amazing scat/bass unison solos). He also sang some of Stern's complicated melodies.

 

He just completely played his butt off on the bass and you won't hear that on his own recordings.

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Jeremy is right on. Bona's CDs are not about bass chops, although the lines grooves and there are some sick fills and stunningly melodic solos scattered across the CDs. His acoustic guitar playing is fantastic, and I think he writes beautiful music.

 

Seeing Bona live is another story. Whether it's his own music or others', he will play the $#!% out of his bass. It's unreal. And some of what he pulls off while singing is ridiculous as well.

 

I will see Bona again, for sure. He's been playing the Zinc Bar in Manahattan, which I think is an awful venue. I'd like to see him at the Jazz Standard again, which was a great place to catch his act.

 

Peace.

--s-uu

 

PS: Jeremy, you will appreciate that I'm writing this post while enjoying a nice cup of untainted French Roast.

spreadluv

 

Fanboy? Why, yes! Nordstrand Pickups and Guitars.

Messiaen knew how to parlay the funk.

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Your reviews made me really curious to check out Mike Stern and his band. Did anyone of you already have a chance to watch the live DVD taped in Paris this year (with Richard Bona)?

 

Mike Stern Paris Concert (2006) (amazon.com)

 

Does that DVD deliver all that magic jeremy c described? There are a few bad reviews on amazon.com...

 

jitter

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

-- Leonardo da Vinci

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I'll have to check out the DVD.

I totally agree about Richard Bona's solo CDs: they are all-round musical CDs and not bass-centred or blowing records. The last one 'Tiki' has the most featured bass on it and is more varied than the others. All his CDs are very beautiful.

The latest Mike Stern CD (with Richard and others) is a blowing CD (at least in part). Though Bona is more restrained than in the live concerts with Mike, he does let go some fine bass solos and parts.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow!

The Stern/Bona/Chambers/Franceschini DVD arrived yesterday.

If that's what they sounded like in 2004, they must be stupendous now!

I don't have time to post much now and I've only watched the first couple of tunes but it is an awesome DVD. Richard Bona is truly having a whale of a time and all the musicians play their socks off. It's good enough that I watched alternately open-mouthed gasping, head nodding, laughing out loud, crying tears of joy at one point (I kid you not!). And that was just the first song.

The second track didn't connect with me quite as much, Bona was a little overloud, I thought, and a little OTT with the effects but it was still great and Bob Franceschini plays come wonderful soulful sax on it too - mutliphonic roaring and screaming at times -the influences of Coltrane and Brecker very apparent.

The DVD is available very reasonably and it is not region encoded which is a bonus. I'd recommend it even after only hearing these two tracks.

http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/P/B000E3LD86.01._AA240_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg

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