In 1997, Slim Man got a call from Carl Griffin, the legendary music mogul who signed everyone from Evelyn "Champagne" King to Diana Krall.
Carl aked Mr. Man if he was still writing instrumental music.
Slim Man said yes. Carl said send me something.
A band was born. A band called...BONA FIDE.
Years before, Carl Griffin had signed Slim Man to Motown Records. While at Motown, Slim Man wrote vocal songs and funky instrumentals. One of his first vocal songs was recorded by Angela Bofill on her award-winning debut CD.
Even though none of the instrumental music got cut, Carl encouraged Slim Man to keep writing. But nothing got published, no CD was released. When Carl left Motown, and became the VP at GRP, he asked Slim Man to put together a demo of those instrumentals. There was a lot of interest, and a lot of attention, but still...no deal.
When Carl left GRP and started N2K with Phil Ramone and Larry Rosen, he presented those funky instrumental songs to N2K, and a deal was done. Finally! But the band needed a name...
So Slim Man came up with the name Bona Fide. Bonin' in the boneyard with Bona Fide!
The first Bona Fide CD, Royal Function, took off like a rocket. It was a compelling combination of funk and soul. X Ray Hip, a song from that CD, came out of left field and went all the way to Number 1. The band was named Best New Artist at the Smooth Jazz Awards (2001). Their live shows were creating buzz all across the country.
Bona Fide's second CD, Poe House, was produced by Carl Griffin, who had recently won a Grammy for producing B.B. King's Live At The Apollo CD. Poe House was an exploration of 70s groove music with a touch of jazz, a CD that was also a soulful musical tribute to their hometown of Baltimore, Maryland.
Bona Fide's third CD, Soul Lounge, found the band taking a somewhat different direction, heading into the cool and deep waters of chill, lounge and electronica. Soul Lounge was included in many Top Ten lists for that year (2005). The CD featured a stellar line-up of musicians, including Marc Antoine, the guitar master from Madrid.
And it was Marc Antoine who called Slim Man in September of 2013, and offered to produce and write and play on a new Bona Fide CD. It had been 9 years since the last Bona Fide CD. What took so long?
"I was waiting for the right opportunity to come along," says Slim Man.
A Kickstarter camapign was initiated, the money was raised, and the writing and production ws started. The CD was mixed in Madrid by Marc. The style of the CD has been playfully dubbed "Gucci Music" by Slim Man, because the music reminded him of the stuff you hear in chic boutiques and hipster hotels.
Except the new Bona Fide CD is much more accessible and fun than that. There is a freshness in the music, which comes from the fact that musicians were discouraged from listening to the songs before the recording sessions.
"For instance, when we recorded the drums, we just put the drummer in the studio, threw up some microphones and started recording. No rehearsal. He had never even heard the songs before.
I was going for feel. A lot of what you hear on the new Bona Fide is like that.
Guys going from the gut."
Which gives the new Bona Fide CD a boldness that is hard to ignore.
It sounds familiar, yet like nothing you've heard before.
The new Bona Fide CD is simply called Bona Fide. It's the real deal.