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The Next Level

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
It's an amusing little slice of the pop culture times that veteran bassist Sekou Bunch is better known to the American public as the first eliminated contestant from Survivor: Cook Islands (2006, the thirteenth season of the show) than for his incredible all-star résumé featuring everyone from Quincy Jones and Luther Vandross to Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, the Winans, and Stevie Wonder. His experience on the show probably made him impervious to the odds of a new name (this was his first solo effort since the early '90s) breaking through the smooth jazz format when this was released. The success of Wayman Tisdale aside, another obstacle was the fact that he's an ace ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Jonathan Widran
It's an amusing little slice of the pop culture times that veteran bassist Sekou Bunch is better known to the American public as the first eliminated contestant from Survivor: Cook Islands (2006, the thirteenth season of the show) than for his incredible all-star résumé featuring everyone from Quincy Jones and Luther Vandross to Michael Jackson, Ray Charles, the Winans, and Stevie Wonder. His experience on the show probably made him impervious to the odds of a new name (this was his first solo effort since the early '90s) breaking through the smooth jazz format when this was released. The success of Wayman Tisdale aside, another obstacle was the fact that he's an ace bassist, not the most radio-friendly instrument in the genre. All that said, The Next Level is a solid, coolly funky, and supermelodic date, on par with and even surpassing the catchy and grooving joy that Tisdale was famous for. And you can't beat the big shots he invited to the party: Stanley Clarke (who adds a chops happy tenor bass solo to Bunch's lead piccolo on the breezy, laid-back "Sun Goddess"); Angela Winbush and Boney James, who sway along with Bunch on the romantic-lite urban jazz of "Smooth Sailing"; George Duke, who adds his elegant piano touch to the dramatic, orchestrally enhanced grooving jazz of "The Return of Superman"; and Sheila E. and Everette Harp blazing along with Bunch's Fender jazz bass and Thomas Organ's blistering guitar on a wild "Purple Haze." The progressive fusion of these last two tracks and the high spirited tropical Latin jam "Ploom Ploom Ploom" add a nice complement of depth and jazzy soul to the handful of radio friendly potential singles. Likewise, the socially conscious "Haters" rocks steady into forward-thinking "Marcus Miller" territory. But even when Bunch is just playing it cool, his heart's completely in it, dedicating "Everything I Miss at Home" to his old friend, the late George Howard and the silky "Essence" to Vandross. He was the first guy to be voted off the island, but this diverse disc made it clear he was finally dedicated to his solo career for the long haul.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 5/13/2008
  • Label: Trippin & Rhythm
  • UPC: 020286118022
  • Catalog Number: 26
  • Sales rank: 138,856

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Sun Goddess - Stanley Clarke (4:11)
  2. 2 Smooth Sailing - Angela Winbush (4:17)
  3. 3 Take Five/In Three (5:07)
  4. 4 Don't Take Too Long - Brooke Lynne Bunch (3:17)
  5. 5 Everything I Miss at Home (4:08)
  6. 6 Haters - Sean Thomas (4:52)
  7. 7 Essence (6:07)
  8. 8 Ploom Ploom Ploom - Ellegua Vocal Choir (5:15)
  9. 9 Funkabilly (5:25)
  10. 10 The Return of Superman (6:30)
  11. 11 Purple Haze - Jimi Macon (4:31)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Sekou Bunch Primary Artist, Synthesizer, Guitar, Percussion, Strings, Electric Bass, Keyboards, Background Vocals, Fretless Bass Guitar, Acoustic Bass, Piccolo Bass, Soloist, Fender Jazz Bass, Lead
Rodney Franklin Synthesizer, Piano, fender rhodes, keyboard bass
George Duke Piano
Karen Briggs Violin
Boney James Tenor Saxophone
Marina Bambino Percussion
Johnny Britt Trumpet
Bobby Broom Guitar
Stanley Clarke Tenor Saxophone, Soloist
Melena DeOlga Shaker
Sheila Escovedo Percussion
Rayford Griffin Drums
Everette Harp Tenor Saxophone
Munyungo Jackson Percussion, Timbales, Bata Drums
Roman Johnson Organ, Synthesizer, Flute, Piano, Strings, Keyboards, Vibes, fender rhodes, Synthesizer Bass, keyboard bass, Soloist
Trevor Lawrence Drums
Wayne Linsey Piano
Wally Minko Synthesizer, Keyboards, Soloist
Thomas Organ Guitar, Steel Guitar
Angela Winbush Vocals, Vocal Ad-Libs
Lamont VanHook Voices
Lori Andrews Harp
Will Kennedy Drums
Steve Alaniz Flute, Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
Natisse Bambi Jones Vocals
Kim Hansen Synthesizer, Soloist
Sean Patrick Thomas Background Vocals, Rap
Mads Tolling Violin
Jimi Macon Guitar
Brooke Lynne Bunch Vocals, Background Vocals, Lead
Ellegua Vocal Choir Vocals
Technical Credits
Dave Brubeck Composer
Ramsey Lewis Composer
Sekou Bunch Arranger, Composer, Programming, Producer, Liner Notes, Executive Producer
Andre Berry Engineer
Stanley Clarke Engineer
Bobby Fischer Mastering
Jimi Hendrix Composer
Roman Johnson Programming, Producer, keyboard arrangements
Keith Jones Engineer
Johnny Rivers Engineer
Otmaro Ruíz Piano Arrangement
Angela Winbush Composer
Brian Schwab Engineer
Jack Frisch Art Direction
Kim Hansen keyboard arrangements
Alex Todorov Engineer
Charles W. Johnson Jr. Programming
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Customer Reviews

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    Posted May 6, 2010

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