ETIENNE MBAPPÉ - another great Cameroonian bass player
Just like several other outstanding bass players, Etienne Mbappé comes from Cameroon. The level of his playing is definitely equal to his more well known compatriot Richard Bona. His technique and rhythmic sense are amazing and he has created a great musical genre of his own, transcending the frontiers between African music and other styles such as jazz, pop and even classical music.
Best known for his years with the Zawinul Syndicate, Etienne Mbappé has a long track record behind him, where the years with Salif Keita and with the French National Jazz Orchestra (ONJ) under the direction of Antoine Hervé are especially worth mentioning.
His music constitutes a unique fusion between traditional Cameroonian rhythms (Makossa, Bolobo, Sékélé) and more modern music. His first solo album Misiya (label: O+) also reveals a singer whose voice is smooth and deep. In the Cameroonian dialect Douala he sings of love, of friendships, of his son’s eyes… and also more upbeat songs that show his unique feel for dance rhythms. On his next album, to be released autumn 2006, he continues developing his fantastic musical mix.
Etienne Mbappé has toured extensively in France and abroad with Salif Keita and Manu Dibango (both as bassist and musical director) and the Orchestre National de Jazz, Jacques Higelin, Michel Jonasz, and many others. He also formed the two fusion bands Ultramarine and Chic Hot. From 2000 until 2003 he played with Joe Zawinul, and he can be heard on several of his recordings, for example “Faces And Places”. In 2001 Etienne played on Ray Charles’ last album.
He recently played for a very enthusiastic audience at Birdland, Wien and is booked at several festivals this summer, in Scandinavia and at the international jazz festivals in Montreux, Montreal, Paris, Nice and Vienne.
Line-up (five musicians, possibly six - including keyboards):
Etienne Mbappé – Lead vocals, bass
Cate Petit – Background vocals
Jim Grandcamp – Guitar
Hervé Gourdikian – Sax, flute
Roger Biwandu – Drums
Please go to www.etiennembappe.com for sound clips, updates, tour plan etc.