Talk about U.S. / Cuba relations cooling... BILLY GIBBONS NEW ALBUM PERFECTAMUNDO CULMINATING IN CUBA
After several U.S. dates, the tour ends in Cuba, where Billy will play the Havana Jazz Festival – a perfect climax for an album that was initially inspired by an over-the-transom invitation to perform at last year’s Havana Jazz Festival.
The concept for Perfectamundo, which was produced by Gibbons and Joe Hardy and recorded in Houston, Los Angeles, Austin and Pontevedra, Spain, originated in Billy’s Houston studio, when he explored the potential for a Latin flavored album with his Argentine-born, Puerto Rico-raised friend and musical collaborator Martine “G.G.” GuiGui. Soon after presenting his engineering crew with a business card from a newly opened Cuban eatery called Sal Y Pimienta (salt and pepper), with the first track finished for Perfectamundo reached completion taking its title from that card. Concord has just released a tasty video complementing “Treat Her Right,” the album’s debut track.
He followed this with a “Spanglish” version of Louisiana swamp blues maestro Slim Harpo’s classic “Got Love If You Want It” and an Afro-Cubanized take on the Lightnin’ Hopkins version of “Baby Please Don’t Go,” thereby fully merging Gibbons’ innate Houston blues tradition with Latin rhythms. Chino Pons, a Cuban friend who heads his own New York-based quartet stepped in to help collaborate on several other tracks for Perfectamundo.
For the Perfectamundo Tour, Billy’s band, The BFG’s, will consist of the aforementioned Martine “G.G.” GuiGui, Austin B3 stalwart Mike Flanigin and Alx “Guitarzza” Garza, who appears on the album’s title track, as well as “What’s Happenin’, Baby” and “Quiero Mas Dinero.” With Garza on percussion (whom Billy calls "our resident hip-hop poet and percussionist with vocals and beats”), SoZo and Melanie DiLorenzo, two very accomplished drummers, both female, also providing rhythmic Latin spice, complete the rhythm section.
Gibbons recently told Rolling Stone, "The BFG's is, quite simply, a stab at something we didn't previously know to be possible. That 'something' was composing and creating sessions to press the limits of the unknown. ZZ Top, by definition, remains a minimalist endeavor with a very straightforward established approach which continues to serve us well… The BFG's, on the other hand, have now gone on to exploring some uncharted sonic and, especially, rhythmic territory within an accommodating context. Deep at the core of everything we do, either as ZZ Top or with the Perfectamundo aggregation, is the blues. That's the diamond and we found a way to put it into a new, Afro-Cuban setting. It really does come from the same place. The prospect of taking it to Cuba in December is especially exciting should all things work out. Talk about wish fulfillment."
The musical genius of Billy Gibbons is to be heard on his first ever solo album, refreshingly unexpected but most predictably.. Perfectamundo. ¡Escuchemos!