Press release : Ray Lema Quintet “V.S.N.P- Very Special New Production”
Release in January 2013
09 new pieces for this great quintet composed of excellent musicians, traveling companions of Ray Lema for many years.
Etienne Mbappe on bass plays the role of the Master drum in the musical tradition of Central Africa, he shares the Verb with Ray Lema whose melodic and controlled piano playing calms down or stirs the passion and power of the young Nicolas Viccaro on drums who accompanies and highlights the edge of the two horns, Irving Acao on tenor sax and Sylvain Gontard on trumpet.
The quintet is the culmination of a long brooding process in the musical career of Ray Lema. After the solo and trio, came the experience of some concerts in Cameroon with a quartet (with Irving Acao on sax), which sparked the urge to add the trumpet of Sylvain Gontard.
Early October 2012, the five musicians met in studio to record the new compositions of Ray Lema. The magic was there and the album was recorded live with good humor and the joy of playing together that we can feel throughout the album.
4 titles are dedicated to special people for Ray LEMA: Fela Anikulapo and Herbie Hancock, both sources of inspiration, his friend “who is the pride of Africa,” the Malian essayist Aminata Traoré, and his uncle, Etienne NKAZI from the village of Ntimansi in the DRC, who died in February 2010 at the age of 129 years (whose life is partly told in the book “Congo” by David Van Reybrouck).
While using the jazz idiom which gives a wonderful freedom of expression to the musicians, Ray Lema-VSNP Quintet is a band of a new genre, mixing the harmonic subtleties of western music to the heavily spiced flavors of Africa.