With a rich, singing tone and an unerring gift for melody, bassist Etienne Mbappé imparts even the most demanding musical contexts with a grace, warmth, and humanity that transcends boundaries, genres, and languages. His gifts have been put to use as a member of John McLaughlin’s 4th Dimension and the Ringers (with Jimmy Herring, Wayne Krantz, Michael Landau, and Gary Novak), along sideman appearances with Joe Zawinul, Manu Dibango, Robben Ford, Salif Keita, Ray Charles, Steps Ahead, and saxophonist Bill Evans.
How Near How Far also marks the debut of Mbappé's new band the Prophets – featuring Christophe Cravéro (acoustic and electric piano), Anthony Jambon (guitars), Clément Janinet (violin), Arno de Casanove (trumpet, flugelhorn), Hervé Gourdikian (tenor saxophone), and Nicholas Viccaro (drums, percussion). With the unusual trumpet/tenor/violin frontline leading the way, the Prophets explore eleven Mbappé originals, which touch on a number of international traditions while bridging cultural divides via deft musicianship and a thoughtful, conversational improvisational approach. “My music is influenced by places I have traveled, people I meet, colors I see, flavors that I taste, fun that I’ve had, and, sometimes, the pain that I feel,” Mbappé explains. “We live in a complex world today. I want nothing more than to bring that joy and understanding to people through music.”