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November 2005

Gerald Toto, Richard Bona, Lokua Kanza
Toto Bona Lokua
Sunnyside

The term collaboration doesn't adequately define this multitextured, impressive release that truly represents a collective musical vision rather than an all-star or competitive trio outing. Hailing from Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Martinique respectively, Richard Bona, Lokua Kanza and Gerald Toto make this 12-cut work a blueprint for crosscultural cooperation, weaving their divergent linguistic and musical backgrounds into a tapestry that never becomes chaotic, yet keeps shifting and expanding.

Bassist Bona displays his playing mastery during the introduction and in other sections of his piece "Seven Beats," then moves to the keyboard on Kanza's "Stesuff" and displays his classically influenced side. Kanza's kora playing is light, percussive and delightful on "Lamuka," while Toto's vocal journeys and forays are a highlight of "Help Me" and "Flutes." African and Caribbean ingredients neatly converge with jazz references, as Bona, Kanza and Toto craft music that's sometimes gentle, sometimes majestic and always magnificent.

Originally published in November 2005
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