bamboPerfectoThe real star of the album is the ensemble playing, live in the studio – funky jazz fusion with the kind of back-and-forth that only comes when human beings play together.

Ecto Perfecto
Artist: Bambo Kino
indie / Alaya Rose Music, ASCAP
8 tracks / 38:57

If Letterman was introducing the band, he might say, "Hey, kids – do ya' love that funky jazz fusion music?" Well, do ya'? 'Cause that's what you get a lot of on Ecto Perfecto, a fine little jazz fusion project by the mysteriously-named Bambo Kino.

Please don't go thinking Chic Corea, Stanley Clarke or John McLaughlin. The music on Ecto Perfecto is less esoteric and certainly has more of a sense of fun about it – closer to Zappa or even Raymond Scott (the composer of many of the themes lifted by the classic Warner Brothers cartoons). Where jazz fusion can sometimes come off as cold and technical, this music has all of the technical chops without losing the listener among the notes.

Certainly, "Lockenload," a four minute and fifteen second hot-funk joyride, has some of the melodic turns and frenzied playing common to both Zappa and Scott. For me, it's the showpiece of the album, featuring a dazzling horn arrangement, articulate, melodic bass by the Bambo himself, and solid, powerhouse drumming by John Sferra.

The real star of the album is the ensemble playing, done live in the studio with no loops, sequencers, or studio polish. This is a recording of musicians playing tightly but with the kind of back-and-forth that only comes when human beings play together in the same room. This interaction can't be stitched together digitally, and you can sense the fun in the tracks.

With slightly varying line-ups for different songs, Bassman Bambo is always at the heart. The drum-seat is shared by Bob Bacha, Jim 'J.R.' Richley, and the aforementioned Sferra, who you'll know from Glass Harp and the recent excellent 'trio' series where he shared top billing with Phil Keaggy (guitars) and Jack Giering (keyboards). Various keyboards were played by Jim Meese, Dennis Augusta and Jim Gerlach, while John Anthony, Steve DeLach, Frank Castellano, and Mike Baranski handled guitars. Saxes were blown by Eric DeFade, Matt Ferarro, Dave Luscher, Chad Gridley. Bob Machette and David Wigenbach tooted their own horns: trombone and trumpet, respectively.

Whether you're into some cool, more intimate jazz, like "79 Steps," or more free-form be-bop sounds like the slightly avant-garde "Alesia," it's all pretty much here, ending with the jazzy, bouncy, bass line driven, "Outside of the Zen Archer." A visit to Amazon, CD Baby or iTunes will get you your introduction to Bambo – or at least to the other mysterious figure that permeates this project – Mark Buccilli. Hmmm – come to think of it, you never see Bambo and Mark at the same time....

This is inventive, fun music with an underlying sense that – as obviously talented as this composer/bassist is – the guy calling himself Bambo Kino doesn't take himself too seriously. The music is seriously good, though – no joke, kids.

Bert Saraco