For his third solo album, Cameroonian vocalist Gino Sitson is joined by bassist Ron Carter, drummer Jeff "Tain Watts, bassist Essiet Essiet and pianist Helio Alves for twelve originals all sung in Medumba, a dialect of his native Bamileke language. Because of this, it is difficult to discern the meaning of each song but, according to the notes, the lyrics deal with subjects such as "discrimination, tolerance, friendship, freedom, simplicity.......and prayers for guidance. There are also lyrics that tell of more personal changes in Sitson's life such as the birth of his daughter and the death of his brother.
The CD highlights Sitson's four-octave range on emotionally rich performances that stretch the ordinary vocal vocabulary. On pieces such as the title track, "Bird, "Simplicity and "Bye, Sitson's lead voice is augmented by overdubbed miscellaneous vocal effects and backing vocals. "Leugdeu Monhzeu features Sitson's voice matched solely against a Carter bass figure.
As a composer, Sitson has been influenced by his African heritage and a diversity of other musics. "A Leuda Wou almost sounds like a French love song while "Todeu has a very Brazilian feel. The songs are mostly melodically simple, some resembling chants more than songs. They do, however, point up the rhythmic patterns of the music and the harmonies achieved by Sitson's vocal multi-tracking.
Sitson is of a "new generation of multi-culturally influenced African musicians who are integrating into their own musical styles the totality of their "living experience . It would be interesting to hear what he would do if he applied his vocal capabilities to some standard jazz material.
Track Listing: Bird; Wailin'; A Leuda Wou; Bamisphere; Massalo; Y Nole ?; Simplicity;
Monhzeu; Aloga; Nzui Mantoh; Bye.
Personnel: Gino Sitson: vocals; Ron Carter: bass; Jeff "Tain" Watts;
Essiet Essiet: bass; Helio Alves: piano.
I grew up listening to my father's jazz records and listening to the radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy
I grew up listening to my father's jazz records and listening to the radio. My dad was a musician for many years as a vocalist, bassist and drummer. His two uncles played in the Symphony of Reggio Calabria back in Italy. So music and jazz specifically have been a part of me since I was born. I love and perform in all styles of music from around the world. Improvisation in jazz is what drew me in, and still does as well as other genres that feature improvisation. A group of great musicians expressing themselves as one is the hallmark of great jazz and in fact all great music.