Recommended preparation for digging multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Saoul Bumbu’s music is to read how he describes it: “Good Songwriting is the real Pinnacle, no matter what Style or Genre. Write a Tune that still shines when there’s a Power [outage] and all you have is a 6-String and some Candles.”
I’ll supplement his quote with an admonition you’ll normally hear from the most hardcore of DJs and music heads: you should listen, but dig deeper.
Detecting Prince — peace be unto him — in Saoul Bumbu’s music isn’t a terribly challenging discovery path for most ears.
But here’s where I suggest you listen more closely. The Prince influence in some tracks seems very specific — like post-Purple Rain specific. Or perhaps Lovesexy-Graffiti Bridge-3rdeyegirl specific.
And then you should listen even deeper to notice Bumbu’s reverence to decades of Black American music patterns, where soulfully funky grooves with Rock inflections are bathed within a modern Electronica aesthetic, and sprinkled with poetic imagery. You’ll also hear 70s Jazz Fusion. His music will feel at home in your favorite lounge music playlist, dance floor or living room.
Moving to the beat seems to be the only sensible thing to do when you hear the Electric Boogie-flavored “Come On” with Susan Eleanor:
Or when you hear the metaphor-laden “Backseat Cadillac.”
And just when you think you have Bumbu figured out, his instrumentals send you back to the drawing board. The appropriately-titled “Bassoonova” could qualify him to write a tune or two for Azymuth.
The Jazz-Funk saturation in “Shifty” proves how boxing-in Bumbu’s style is a pointless exercise.
“You Don’t say” sounds like a cross-pollination of late 70s Roy Ayers — especially in the chord progressions — with early 70s Blackbyrds.
And while you’re nodding in rhythmic approval, take note of the light social messaging brush Bumbu applies to his tracks.
I think there’s plenty to like here — especially since he never once sounds derivative.
Follow Saoul Bumbu on Soundcloud or contact him via Facebook for info on his upcoming The Juice EP. Checking out Bumbu’s prior releases is also a good idea. You can also dig deeper by checking out his work as half of Modern Soul duo The Noire.