Bakithi Kumalo Album Reviews - Anyone?

Discussion in 'Recordings [BG]' started by XavierG, Jan 9, 2002.

  1. I was wondering if anyone here has had the opportunity to listen to any of the below listed albums, and if so, could you review them briefly?

    1) San Bonan
    2) Step on The Bass Line
    3) On Friendly Basses

  2. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    I have San Bonan-
    What I remember...a couple of the tunes I liked, most of the album has vocals. On a whole, it was a little "lighter" than what I was expecting.
    Not much help, huh?
  3. I heard "San Bonan" being described as Brazilian in flavour - would that be an accurate description?
  4. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    JimK - what exactly do you mean by "lighter"?

    The only example of Kumalo's playing I've heard is Paul Simon's "Graceland", and, of course, it's pretty amazing. By "lighter", do you mean less technical?

    Also, what record labels are the albums mentioned above on?
  5. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    See, if X-Man had stayed, I would've already re-visited this album...but, no. ;)
    ...I guess I will re-visit San Bonan to refresh my memory.
    BTW, "light" to me = 'easy listening', suitable for background music/parties. And I don't translate "light" as necessarily being a bad thing, either...
  6. I'm here! I'm here! I'm listening.

    tj - I think the label is BRK Music. I found them hereHERE but can't seem to connect now.
  7. JimK


    Dec 12, 1999
    My copy of San Bonan is on SIAM Records; I bought mine from back in '98. SIAM's URL is
    Also, there was also some info I recall, though that site sounds almost pornographic).

    Anyway, I checked out this cd today(@ work, bear with me).
    Initially, it's better than I remembered. Some highlights-

    A funky Latin tune w/ vocals. Kumalo's tumbao is pretty stock; his tone is pumping & punchy, though. You FEEL it, even thru the tiny compooter speakers. The horns are nicely arranged along with the percussion. What I'm not keen on(& this goes for pretty much the entire disc)-the 'sound' of the keyboards/synths; IMO, they're pretty Mattel Toy-like(& Steve Khan is playing keys on some of these tracks). Piano(either real or some facsimile thereof)would have been a lot better.

    "San Bonan"-
    A South African Reggae/Funker w/ vocals. Kumalo lays down a heavy, phat, thick, punchy, groove...the 1/16th notes are nicely & evenly played. Again, the bass is freakin' HUGE on these tiny speakers!

    "Ulwandle(The Sea)"-
    Some nice fretless w/ a Brasilian-sounding acoustic guitar. More vocals...this tune is about mood.

    ""Laleha Kahle"-
    More Latin stuff in an R&B vibe. There's also a muted trumpet ala Miles that interacts with the vocals. The horn section, again, is nicely arranged. The percussion is also quite good.
    Kumalo is layin' back alternating between long(Beat 1) & staccato(Beat 3) notes.

    This particular tune really reminds me of the stuff found on Paul Simon's Graceland album...almost a "Diamond On The Soles Of Her Shoes" quality. The accordian gives this tune a Zydeco vibe. Pretty cool.

    "Dark Streets Of Soweto"-
    Funky, an almost Hip Hop-ish groove...
    Palm muted groove to the max.
    Nice little slap/pop break, too.
    This tune wouldn't sound outta place on the E-Z Jazz Stations, though, IMO, it's a few steps above the usual stuff/safe sax fodder.

    Kumalo teams up with, yep, Don Alias on this one.
    Kumalo double-tracks some parts...the intro sounds like some chording & tapping(playing an ostinato).
    Eventually, Kumalo gets very "Jaco-esque"...the chorus effect...WOW! It's scary how close he gets.
    On a Blindfold Test, I'm sayin' this is Jaco! ;)

    I think I would recommend this disc, especially if one is a Kumalo fan. On a whole, it still falls into MY 'light' category(that's me & the phase I'm currently in, though).
    The production/sound of San Bonan is great; it's recorded very well, but not so well that it reeks of slickness. Kumalo's bass is way upfront...I'm gonna get busy with this disc this weekend, there's some grooves to be had! ;)

  8. Jim,

    Thanks for the lowdown. That was more than I expected, and now I'm drooling. Am ordering that one right after I post this.


    PS boneintheNOSE is the link I provided as well. There are a few mp3 samples there.