First View


Bona Fide is a creation of Tim Camponeschi (better known as Slim Man) and Carl Griffin. Slim Man had already recorded several solo albums (End of the Rainbow (1998), Closer to Paradise (1996), Secret Rendezvous (1997), Jazzified (1999) and All I Want for Christmas (2000)). In 1998 Carl Griffin (Executive and Producer of hundreds of records of Joe Sample, B.B. King, The Rippingtons, Special EFX, Carl Anderson, Ramsey Lewis etc.) needed a funky jazz group for his new label. So Slim Man gathered some of his buddies to record the first album Royal Function (1999), followed by The Poe House in 2001. Both albums were released on the N2K label which went bankrupt shortly after the release of the second album. 

Well, Slim Man went into his studio again and started writing and compiling 12 songs. He passed them along to keyboardist George Hazelrigg, who laid down tracks on a Grand piano. "I just said, 'You know what to do. Just go ahead and do it,'" comments Slim Man. The same procedure followed with saxplayer Kevin Levi and later with drummer John E. Coale. When the album was finished, Slim Man had a harder nut to crack. He had to find a new label for his heart child. In September 2004 he met the president of A440 Music, a jazz label in Chicago. Kent Anderson wanted to release his new album and the whole label crew came to Slim's concert in the Millennium Park. A440 Music group artists were Brian Bromberg, Nelson Rangell, Andy Snitzer, Turning Point, Michael Manson, Everette Harp, Richard Smith, Bob Baldwin, Brian Hughes and Gary Meek. Unfortunately A440 Music group filed bankruptcy too.

In December 2004 Slim played with Bona Fide in Ram's Head. David Wilson made some photo shots for the new album at that place. Six years after their auspicious arrival Bona Fide got a new home at Heads Up International. Finally the album "Soul Lounge" will be released on September 27th 2005. Good music finds its way.

The album opens with Bona Fide Club. Every jazz player dreams of an own club, some are able to realize their dreams (Thinking of Alexander Zonjic's Seldom Blues). Club means improvisation and energy. That is the album all about. The tune is uptempo and George Hazelrigg shows that he is a magician of piano.

The roots of the band are in Baltimore. Premium jazz club of the city is the Funk Box. Formerly known as the 8X10 the club is now returned to this name. Artists like Joe Scofield or Marceo Parker were onstage at this venue. The homage presents Kevin Levi's laid back soprano sax.

Soul Lounge is defined as contemporary jazz meets chill-out. With the title song we enter the chill-out zone. Bona Fide transforms the shuffle beat known by acid jazz into a lower more relaxed tempo, certainly more accessible for smooth jazz radio structure.

Digging deeper into funky tones we arrived at Girards. The melody is raised in steps like a canon. George Hazelrigg's piano magic is glittering in small solo phrases while Kevin Levi is expanding his solo parts in huge steps. Nice keyboards spheres are passing through the soundscape like a fog.

Midnight Train is a very special song because we have two great guests: Marc Antoine on nylon string acoustic and Chuck Loeb on electric guitar. Slim Man underlines their interpretation with a dark bass. A perfect single dedicated for a burnout on all turntables.

The melody on The Journey is played by vibes, piano and sax. Since the time of Roy Ayers the vibration of vibes produces an acid jazz feeling.

The Bromo Tower is a historic structure in Baltimore modeled after the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. Build in 1911 the tower is still a highlight on every city-tour. The tune is strong and propulsive like the tower itself.

The lengthy (13 minutes!) Deep Chill is diving in a driving hypnotical bass groove reminding me at tunes of Amon Düll and Can.

23rd Of May is featuring Marc Antoine again. This tune and Midnight Train are very different from the rest of the album. Very melodious and mellow. A style one awaits on albums of Peter White, Marc Antoine or José Luis Encinas.

B. More Knights was written by Joe Ercole who also plays keyboards on that track. Joe Ercole is a longtime friend of Slim Man and worked together with him on his album Jazzified. Manhattan Nights, Joe Ercole's debut album, was produced by Slim Man. Joe was also member of Bona Fide on the albums Royal Function and The Poe House. A brilliant tune of a great piano player with a deep bow to smooth jazz radio industry.

The final tune Rosebank Gang is named after the Baltimore street where Slim Man grew up. This tune is hooky enough to realize that Tim Camponeschi did a great job again. He is not only an excellent bass player and singer but also a fantastic composer and producer. And if he wouldn't be so comical during his live shows, we would better comprehend the depth of his artistic genius. "My favorite thing is to play with this band as much as possible," he says. "We're musicians and best friends, and we travel well together. We have so much fun together before, during and after the show. I'd probably never come home if I had my way." So we take Tim Camponeshi as he is, the one and only Slim Man.




  • Title: Soul Lounge
    Artist: Bona Fide
    Year: 2005
    Length: 0:56:30
    Genre: Smooth Jazz
    Label: Heads Up International


    01 Bona Fide Club [4:14]
    02 Funk Box [4:10]
    03 Soul Lounge [6:38]
    04 Girard´s [7:20]
    05 Midnight Train [3:28]
    06 The Journey [4:14]
    07 Bromo Tower [3:05]
    08 Deep Chill [13:00]
    09 23rd Of May [4:00]
    10 B. More Knights [2:57]
    11 Rosebank Gang [3:24]
  • Bona Fide are:
    George Hazelrigg (guitar, piano, Fender Rhodes piano, Wurlitzer piano)
    Kevin Levi (saxophone, keyboards)
    Tim Camponeschi (keyboards, bass guitar)
    John E. Coale (drums)
    Howard Zizzi (percussion)
  • Additional personnel: Rick Aurich, Willie Williams, Marc Antoine (guitar); Chuck Loeb (electric guitar); Jimmy Wilson (flugelhorn); Joe Ercole (keyboards)