Half Notes: Richard Bona – Bona Makes You Sweat (2008)

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In the Pat Metheny Group, there is always one musician who plays the role of “utility man.” The basic instrumentation is guitar, piano/keys, acoustic and electric bass, drums, trumpet, and (sometimes) harmonica. The extra player is responsible for filling in on any number of instruments including vibes, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vocals, and percussion. In the history of the group, this chair has been held by a stellar cast of musicians including: Armando Marcal, Nana Vasconcelos, Mark Ledford, and the great David Blamires. In 2002, Pat Metheny brought out on tour his most powerful secret weapon yet: Richard Bona. Born in Cameroon, Bona can do it all. He can sing, play any number of instruments, and wield a mean bass. In fact, during the show I attended, the rest of the band took a break so that Metheny, Bona, and Antonio Sanchez could let it all hang out on a jaw-dropping version of “Bright Size Life.” It’s got to be tough to fill the shoes of Jaco Pastorius, but Bona made it look easy. This live album only confirmed his newfound legend.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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