|"A couple of years ago, I got a call from producers Phil Bunch and Franck Balloffet, (known as “Tea”) who at that time were producing ‘Dreams’, a world music album featuring African musicians and singers. They asked me if I would be interested in adding some Hammond Organ and Fender Rhodes.
"I thought the tracks were great, and duly added some organ solos and Rhodes accompaniment. Some of these tracks, including ‘Ibiza’, got a lot of airplay on World Radio. Last year, Phil and Franck asked me if I would be interested in making a Brian Auger album, and, if so, they would prepare some rhythm tracks for me to listen to. I agreed, and these immediately triggered vivid pictures for me, as well as melodic and harmonic musical ideas, and lyrics. I have dedicated the last track to my wife and mother of my children, Ella.
“Special thanks also, to our guests Jeffrey ‘Skunk’ Baxter, Julian Coryell, Karma Auger, Savannah Auger, Remi Kabaka and André Manga for their great performances.”
-- BRIAN AUGER, Venice California
Tea's newest album is “Dreams.” Their first release is "Voyages du Jour."
Guitarist Franck Balloffet, from Lyon, France, and Southern California drummer/keyboardist Phil Bunch first met as members of Los Angeles’ premier African band, Bateke Beat, featuring multi-instrumentalist Fidel Bateke, formerly of Fela Kuti’s ensemble from Nigeria. The group was the house band at the legendary L.A. club Flaming Colossus, as well as Malibu’s Adobe.
In the early ‘90s F&P departed Bateke Beat to lead the soul-afrobeat Orchestra Shegemo and Savwa, which included saxophonist Ravi Coltrane and vocalist Sharlotte Gibson, for years a singer with Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, and Ricky Minor's band on American Idol. They emerged as the house band at infamous L.A. venues Po Na Na Souk and Bokaos.
F&P, along with singer/songwriter Richard Clayton and bassist Bill Bowman, then formed never never band, partially owing to a harsh melodic reference to legendary Who drummer Keith Moon, who as a youth purchased his first set of drums from a U.K. shop on a layaway payment plan. In England, that action is called “putting it on the never never.”
F&P have currently been producing and collaborating with unique vocalists: Congolese vocalists Steve "Ikhaman" Ngondo (previously with Tabu Le Rochereau) and Ilongomo "Elo" Ememe, Marcel Adjibi, vocalist and percussionist from Benin (Manu Dibango, John Densmore), Amadu Sabali from Senegal and American multi-lingual vocalists Chana (Tambu International Ensemble) and Suyen Mosely.
Personnel on "Dreams" include Brian Auger (Steampacket, Brian Auger's Trinity, Oblivion Express) playing Hammond B3 and Fender-Rhodes. Nigeria’s Remi Kabaka (guest percussionist on the Rolling Stones’ Winter 2002 West Coast tour, and the only African musician on Paul McCartney’s “Band On The Run” album) is featured on talking drum and percussion. Bassists André Manga, from Cameroon (Angelique Kidjo, Manu Dibango, Josh Groban) and Bobby Tsukamoto (Neil Larsen, Michael Landau) are also included, as well as Cameroonian EMI studio guitarist Louis Wasson, saxophonists Randall Willis (Gerald Wilson, B Sharp Quartet) and Bobby English (Lou Rawls, the Spinners), as well as Frederic Meschin on trumpet, and Chris Darrow (Kaleidoscope, James Taylor) on slide guitar.