Bassist-vocalist Richard Bona, who is from Cameroon, packs a ton of world-music charm into Tiki, offering Afro-beat sung in his native Duala, Brazilian cool, jazz, funk and enough pop to keep the whole richly satisfying, especially the pure pop of “Dipama.” Think Paul Simon and Sting at their most lyrical and charming. You don’t have to understand what Bona’s singing to enjoy his tunes, as his voice is just another instrument at his disposal.
Bona, a favorite session player for many and touring companion for Pat Metheny, Joe Zawinul, Bob James, Branford Marsalis and countless others, has a lyrical, gentle voice that often compares to Brazilian crooners Gilberto Gil and Milton Nascimento.
Bona, like Brian Bromberg, was inspired on bass by Jaco Pastorius. Anyone out there who reveres the late, great bassist has to listen to “Three Women,” a rare Pastorius tune. Here, Bona enlists composer Gil Goldstein to conduct a dreamy tribute, with his bass ringing true and wordless vocals adding to the allure.