Richard Bona/Danilo Perez - 15/11/08 Barbican, LJF

Having established himself as a key member of Wayne Shorters quartet, tonight's first half performance saw pianist Danilo Perez take centre stage with his own acoustic trio. The dynamic and open-approach afforded to Perez's compositions like Galactico and Love Stories, afforded a rich and organic quality to the extent that, at times, it was difficult to identify any written melody. Though Shorter's influence is clearly evident, the trio's adventurous style illustrated Perez's sublime intelligence as an acclaimed composer and performer in his own right.

The second half of tonight's proceedings saw Cameroonian vocalist and electric bassist Richard Bona take to the stage with his exciting international band harbouring musicians from Brooklyn, Venezuela and Cuba. Bona, who established a strong rapport with the audience, delivered an eclectic mix of jazz-funk grooves interwoven with his formidable bass playing, simultaneous scat-singing and captivating vocals that, sang in Bona's native Douala, purveyed pure beauty.

Bona makes no secret of the irreversible influence of Jaco Pastorius in his playing and pays tribute to the great bassist with a rendition of Liberty City, with Bona playing the lead harmonica line on his bass via a Roland synth. This was segued with Weather Reports Birdland, another of Pastorius's bass parts and a nod to the late Joe Zawinul, who elevated Bona to the world stage on his 1992 album, My People. As the night drew to an end the band left the stage, leaving Bona alone to create layer upon layer of looped angelic, vocal harmonies. With the band returning the Barbican boiled over with Bona's blistering virtuosity leaving the audience, who couldn't help but dance, on its feet.

Review- Nick Wells

The Write Stuff

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