Monday, August 3, 2015
ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons will release his first-ever solo album, “Perfectamundo”, on October 23.
Inspired by Cuban music, Gibbons is joined by a handpicked group of musicians dubbed The BFG’s on the project, which hearkened back to his early days when he studied Latin percussion in Manhattan with its preeminent virtuoso, “Mambo King” Tito Puente, a friend of Billy’s bandleader dad.
Puente taught the young Gibbons the essential Latin rhythms via conga, bongo, maracas and, most importantly, timbales.
“Banging away on ‘em came back like riding on a lost bicycle,” says Gibbons.
Produced by Gibbons and Joe Hardy and recorded in Houston, Los Angeles, Austin and Pontevedra, Spain, “Perfectamundo” was sparked by an invitation to perform at the 2014 Havana Jazz Festival, delivered by his Argentine-born, Puerto Rico-raised friend and musical collaborator Martin Guigui. Gibbons was unable to attend, but the concept inspired the ZZ Top guitarist to begin work in his Houston studio.
Three songs in, Gibbons hooked up with Guigui as well as Chino Pons, a Cuban friend who heads his own quartet in New York.
“Chino, so to speak, sprinkled holy water on our efforts and expressed confidence that we were headed in the right direction,” explains Gibbons, “and that bit of affirmation gave us the impetus for more forward motion.”
BFG & Co. includes Guigui on piano and B3, B3 player Mike Flanigan (who has joined with Guigui in backing Gibbons on recent solo dates), vocalist/bassist Alex Garza and drummer Greg Morrow, with co-producer Hardy offering additional guitar, keys, bass and vocals, and Gary Moon also supplying additional guitar play.
Gibbons himself contributes bass guitar, B3 and piano parts as well as Timbales and other percussion instruments while Chino guests as part of the seasoned Cubano Nationale Beat Generator percussion ensemble.
Gibbons and ZZ Top are currently playing shows across North America; their latest album is 2012’s “La Futura.”
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