Summing up Etienne MBAPPE is just as hard an endeavour as attempting to get a one-shot global view of a multifaceted diamond. And to those who are not yet quite familiar with him, “ATN”—so his friends call him—is nothing but a famous and exceptionally talented bass player. Few of them have realized that with a tremendous creativity, an amazing technique, along with an incredible sense of rhythm, he created a full musical genre of his own, transcending the boundaries between Jazz, Fusion/Funk, Rock and African sounds.
For three decades now, and far beyond this “bassistic” facet, ATN has for sure demonstrated that he is definitely much more than just on eof the world’s greatest bass players.
As an astonishing musician, guitar and bass player, and a fabulous composer, singer and songwriter, he has revealed a most complete and varied musical capacity and fully justified the trust bestowed upon him by most great names of the musical scene as well as his public widely spread around the planet.
When in 1978 he left his Cameroon homeland to join his father in Paris, he didn’t leave his guitar, and his bedroom became much more of a rehearsing bazaar than a resting place. But a father’s anger could hardly do thing on a highly talented teenager’s determination to succeed, could it? For talent is like love: impossible to stop or hide… Music schools, musical encounters, and later on, studio jobs and tours with celebrities such as Salif Keita and Manu Dibango thus became his daily reailty and inescapable destiny.
Then broke the day when he joined the prestigious French National Jazz Band, for soon afterwards at the bicentennial celebrations of the French Revolution, it was a musical piece of his composition that caught the attention of the great Quincy Jones then invited by French authorites to train and lead the band.
In the 80’s, ATN was the masterpiece of the Great Fusion Jazz Band Ultramarine which incorporated Jazz with elements of African and Caribbean, and whose 2nd album, DE, was considered “1989 best world music album.”
Best known for his years with the Zawinul Syndicate, ATN is undoubtedly on of the only musicians playing with black silk gloves on! He also toured with Steps Ahead, Ray Lema, and Mayra Andrade and played with The Genius Ray Charles on his very last album.
In 2010, he joined John McLaughlin’s quarted “4th Dimension.”
His first solo album “Misiya” revealed a singer with a smooth and deep voice singing in the Duala language of Cameroon, and upbeat songs that disclosed his unique feel for dance rhythms as well as his great talent for arrangements. His second album “Su la Take” followed in Spring 2008.
What else? Just in case you still haven’t got to discover the Man, just listen to his sound then if you can; or better still, try and see him on stage: you’ll know what ATN is all about!