Billy Gibbons Shares Title, Band, Release Date + Cover Image for Solo Debut
Rather than the familiar visages of Dusty Hill and Frank Beard, with whom Gibbons has worked for decades, the album features a handpicked group of new faces dubbed the BFG's. Gibbons has also promised more of an Afro-Cuban sound, replacing ZZ Top's familiar blues-rock boogie.
Gibbons, long-time fans will remember, studied Latin percussion in Manhattan very early on – even before his time with the pre-ZZ Top band Moving Sidewalks – under the tutelage of mambo legend Tito Puente, a family friend. So, turning to the conga, bongo, maracas and timbales was like a homecoming, he says in pre-release materials: “Banging away on ‘em came back like riding on a lost bicycle.”
Perfectamundo, co-produced in Houston, Los Angeles, Austin and Pontevedra, Spain by Gibbons and Joe Hardy, began after an invitation to perform at the 2014 Havana Jazz Festival. Gibbons couldn't make the event, but found himself intrigued by the idea of returning to Afro-Cuban sounds stuck with him.
Gibbons sought guidance from Argentine-born, Puerto Rico-raised friend and musical collaborator Martin Guigui, as well as Chino Pons, a Cuban friend who leads a New York-based quartet. “Chino, so to speak, sprinkled holy water on our efforts and expressed confidence that we were headed in the right direction," Gibbons says, "and that bit of affirmation gave us the impetus for more forward motion."
Guigui ultimately would occupy a key role in the BFG's, playing on piano and B3 organ. Mike Flanigan, Alex Garza and Greg Morrow round out the core lineup. Co-producer Hardy and Gary Moon also contributed. Gibbons is featured on guitar, B3, piano, timbales and other percussion instruments. Perfectamundo also features the Cubano Nationale Beat Generator percussion ensemble, which includes Pons. Garza, also known as Alx Guitarzza, adds hip-hop flavor to the title track, “You’re What’s Happenin,’ Baby” and “Quiero Mas Dinero.”
Not that Gibbons has forgotten his roots in the blues. Perfectamundo is made complete with an update of Slim Harpo's "Got Love If You Want It," but in Spanglish, and an Afro-Cuban take on Lightnin' Hopkins' "Baby Please Don't Go."
Gibbons has continued to work with ZZ Top while completing Perfectamundo, and says the project was made with the blessings of Beard and Hill.
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