After 30 years as an accomplished first-call session and touring player, veteran bassist Sekou Bunch is breaking new ground with his first solo CD, The Next Level, on the Trippin N Rhythm record label. The CD was officially released to stores and Internet outlets this month. The first single from The Next Level, “Take Five, In Three,” was released for airplay in March.
Bunch’s credentials gained over his career are impressive. He has shared the stage and or recording studio with such artists as Quincy Jones, Rod Stewart, Stevie Wonder, Roger Daltry, Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, Luther Vandross, The Isley Brothers, Roberta Flack, Envogue, Anita Baker, Ray Charles, Chaka Khan, George Benson, Wayne Shorter, Marc Anthony, George Howard, Tom Browne, Lionel Richie, the Tonight Show Band, Kirk Whalum, Kevin Toney, Najee, Paul Jackson Jr. and Will Downing…just to name just a few.
Although primarily a jazz musician, Bunch has crossed over many genres of music during his career. On The Next Level he expertly weaves Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop, Funk, Rock, Salsa and Caribbean flavors. His versatility is evident in bridging the gap between the music styles.
“The Next Level is an aural experience from start to finish that is also symbolic of my career to date as a session musician and now, solo artist. It’s about where I’ve been, what I’ve learned and where I’m going…to the ‘next level,'” says Bunch.
Bunch brings together an extraordinary group of musicians to join him on the CD. The Next Level features stand out performances by artists Stanley Clarke, Boney James, George Duke, Angela Winbush, Everette Harp, Karen Briggs, Mads Tolling and Sheila E. among others.
Bunch relates, “It has been a rewarding and uplifting experience to collaborate with so many great artists over the years. I have worked with too many artists to include them all on this CD, but I was able to get access to some of the best that were available.”
As an interesting aside, television viewers around the world were introduced to Bunch as a contestant in 2006 with the premiere of the highly rated CBS reality series “Survivor: Cook Islands.” This 13th installment of the series was originally presented as the war between the races.
Musician, composer and sometimes actor Sekou Bunch was born and raised in New York in a home filled with music. At the age of 14 Bunch realized his destiny as a musician and started playing the electric bass. Prior to this he had gained public acclaim as a commercial artist and break dancer. In fact, Bunch is considered one of the pioneers of break dancing. With the tutelage of his uncle, Ralph Bunch, Bunch began playing local gigs and jam sessions. Bunch then teamed with GRP artist, Tom Browne. At 17, he performed with Browne on the best selling funk classic LP Funkin for Jamaica and was awarded his first RIAA Certified Gold Record. He co-wrote with Browne the hit “Thighs High.”
Eventually Bunch moved to Los Angeles and met the late George Howard. He toured and recorded a host of records with Howard. For many years Bunch performed and served as occasional musical director for The Isley Brothers. He then became a member of Quincy Jones’ “A Team” along with session greats John Robinson, Gregg Phillinganes and Paul Jackson Jr. Sekou Bunch hasn’t stopped since as an A-list session and touring musician.
“Sekou is truly one of the unsung heroes in the bass world. He is an extraordinary bass player, composer, arranger and band Leader. His new CD shows this to be true,” states bass legend Stanley Clarke.
Accomplished musician and composer Sekou Bunch has clearly created a CD to be reckoned with. The Next Level inspires “the next level” of music as well as excellence.
CEO/President of the Trippin N Rhythm record label, Les Cutmore, says, “Sekou’s time has come. He has been the consummate sideman for years and we feel it is time for him to step front and center and take his rightful place as a leader. His feel and mastery of his instrument are truly unparalleled.”
For more information see: www.myspace.com/sekoubunch, www.sekoubunch.com and www.trippinrecords.com.
The Next Level Tracks
1) “Sun Goddess” (featuring Stanley Clarke, tenor bass solo)
2) “Smooth Sailing” (featuring Angela Winbush, vocals; Boney James, tenor sax)
3) “Take Five/in Three” (featuring Steve Alaniz, tenor sax; Wayne Linsey, piano; Bobby Broom, guitar)
4) “Don’t Take Too Long”* (introducing Brooke Lynn Bunch, vocals)
5) “Everything I Miss At Home”
6) “Haters”* (featuring Sean Thomas, rap; Angela Winbush, ad-lib vocals)
8) “Ploom Ploom Ploom”* (featuring Otmaro Ruiz, piano; Robert Greenidge, steel pan; Elegua, vocal choir)
9) “Funkabilly”* (with Mads Tolling and Karen Briggs on violin)
10) “The Return of Superman”* (featuring George Duke, piano; Rayford Griffin, drums; Kim Hansen, synth solo)
11) “Purple Haze” (featuring Sheila E., percussion; Everette Harp, tenor sax; Jimi Macon, guitar; Thomas Organ, guitar)