Review: Richard Bona at Pizza Expres

Richard Bona Group
(Pizza Express Dean Street. 2nd Show, Friday 27th Sept. Review by Maciek Pysz)

It was a rare pleasure to see Cameroun-born, world-renowned bass player Richard Bona at such close quarters during his two-day residency at the Pizza Express Jazz Club. He performed with his own quartet featuring Etienne Stadwijk on keyboards/piano, Tatum Greenblatt on trumpet and Ludwig Alfonso on drums.

Bona has a rare and natural gift for communication. In a full house on Friday night, we taken on a journey through beautiful African landscapes and could experience both his happiness and longing. The best moments were when the band took on two great compositions by Jaco Pastorius’: “Three Views Of a Secret” and “Teen Town”. During the intro to the latter, Bona had one audience member screaming in awe of his impeccable technique and his astonishing, beautiful sense of line.

Another standout of the concert was a solo piece performed by Richard at the end of the show as encore. Using a looping pedal he created layers and layers of vocal lines- a wonderful free improvisation.

The band was very tight, with very nice solos from Greeblatt and Stadwjik. They all seemed to enjoy playing and just being together. All in all it was a great evening and I look forward to listening to Bona’s new album “Bonafide” (out now on Universal Music). Huge props to Bolygomusic and Pizza Express Jazz Club for bringing this great artist for the second time to the club. The smiles on faces of the audience and a final standing ovation put the seal on a great evening.

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