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The Bongolian


by Ian Mann

April 03, 2006


Quality instrumental funk album.

“Blueprint” is the second solo album by “The Bongolian” a.k.a. Nasser Bouzida a multi-instrumentalist who provides drums, keyboards and vocals for Newbury based funksters Big Boss Man. Label mates BBM were formed in 1999 and have built up a considerable following both in the UK and in Europe.

Bouzida’s first solo album the eponymous “Bongolian” was recorded in 2002. As on his previous record Bouzida has written and performed all the material on “Blueprint” himself allowing his multi-instrumental skills to really shine. A crystal clear top quality mix by Mike Pelanconi serves the music admirably. Pelanconi has previously worked with Big Boss Man and with former Blur guitarist Graham Coxon.
The material consists of thirteen instrumentals all with strong melodies and all clocking in between three and four minutes. There is no self-indulgent soloing and no track is allowed to outstay it’s welcome.

Every tune is underpinned by a tremendous rhythmic groove utilising both the bongos and more conventional kit drums and percussion. The most effective tracks feature Bouzida’s skills on Hammond Organ recalling the acid jazz of the James Taylor Quartet but also invoking older ghosts such as Booker T and the MG’s and on “Ferris Wheel” even Jimmy Smith. Other stand out organ tracks include “House of Voodoo”, “Soul Caravan” and “The Hoodwink” which keeps threatening to metamorphose into George Martin’s “Theme One”. Conversely “Del Ray” features a buzz-saw guitar riff over bubbling percussion.

This is a quality instrumental funk album with no superfluous vocals or electronics. Modern music but with a nod to good old-fashioned production values. This music is eminently danceable but there is plenty going on to satisfy the more serious listener.
Bouzida has put together a touring band to support the project and both The Bongolian Band or it’s parent group Big Boss Man should be well worth catching in a live context.

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