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Ribouem / Press

“Building on the exotic, high energy synthesis of jazz and African traditional influences that drove his debut album Bridge, Cameroon born and raised saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Ribouem infuses his explosive new collection Jazz Griot with an expansive range of polyrhythmic foundations and buoyant sounds from places like Sahel, West, Central and even South Africa. Several tracks capture the exciting spirit of the project perfectly—the hypnotic, densely percussive opener “N’kukuma” (which features a tradeoff between synth vibes, rolling electric guitar and soaring sax before Ribouem swirls them all together); the soulful, seductive jazz-funk tune “Sanaga”; the easy rolling “surf guitar” and spacey synth driven “Biamo”; the adventurous, traditional jazz leaning “Musichien”; and the whimsical, easy jangling “Mother,” a showcase for Ribouem’s ample flute skills.”

Jonathan Widran - Jonathan Widran

“On his first CD, Bridge, Cameroon born and raised tenor saxophonist and guitarist Ribouem combined the world music of his native country with jazz. His second project, Tribute to Julie Akofa Akoussa, began as collaboration with the beloved Togolese singer Julie Akofa Akoussa, but instead turned into a loving tribute when she died before the project’s completion. His third and latest CD, Jazz Griot, leans to jazz roots while retaining a percussive world flavor. He’s already completed a few songs, and it sounds like this will be a CD to make some noise. The proof comes with “Biamo”, which has guitar and organ solos, along with Ribouem visceral sax lines, and “Sanaga”, is a joyful ride with an extended electric guitar solo that would do George Benson or Jonathan Butler proud.””

Brian Soergel - Jazz Times

“Ribouem has a lot of unique musical gifts to offer that most people beyond his country have not yet heard. Bridge is a high-energy jazz project that blends a powerful melodic lead sax with jangling guitars and an intense and exciting African percussion groove. World music and jazz fans will also love the very different vibe they hear on the Julie tribute, which though created for the Togolese market is very appealing and seductive with its crisp instrumentation, infectious grooves and call and response vocal patterns. Since that was a one-time tribute project, it’s clear that we can expect more jazzy-African instrumental fusion from Ribouem in the future. Now that he’s back in musical gear, it’s exciting to think of the magic he will share with us across the Pond. That’s a Bridge all jazz fans should look forward to crossing.”

Jonathan Widran - Jonathan Widran