Growing up in Lagos Nigeria, Bukky was spotted practising his first saxophone by the original afro-beat drummer Tony Allen. He was immediately ushered into Tony’s newly formed band. Bukky went on to play with the great Fela Kuti where the seeds of afrobeat were being sown. After sometime in the band and under the influence of Tony Allen, Bukky decided to follow his own journey with his distinct style of jazz and a fro-beat.
In 1982, Bukky’s path led him to London, where he became one of the forerunners of the acid jazz scene. A young A&R man called Gilles Peterson signed him to the newly formed Acid Jazz label. His first release ‘Rejoice in Righteousness’ was at the heart of the acid jazz world. It went straight to number one in the rhythm and blues, dance and jazz charts. The follow up album ‘River Nile’ led him to being nominated for the US African Music Awards in New York. There he became aquatinted with the legendary late tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson who invited Bukky to his home in San Francisco.
Since the acid jazz days, he has remained loyal to his goal of making groundbreaking afro-centric grooves. This led to the creation of the Source. The band toured extensively and recorded a self-titled album, featured on the Club Africa 2 compilation on Strut records. In the mid 90s, he embarked on the definitive pilgrimage to Egypt where he laid down the intellectual and musical foundations for the formation of Black Egypt. The trip to Nile was an eye opener for him. After four years of developing their sound, Black Egypt have emerged as the most important afro-beat group outside Nigeria.
Bukky is still in demand as a world class Saxophonist. He is presently touring with the African Jazz All Stars and Tony Allen’s Afro-Beat Big Band. The next chapter is this collaboration with Ben Mitchell. Ben has produced such artists as Terry Callier, Mr Hermano and Dusty Springfield. They met while Ben was producing ‘The Rapping With The Gods’ album with legendary Brighton DJ Russ Dewbury. The album feat ured Bukky on vocals and saxophone on the track ‘Living Am I living’. The result of their meeting is the Afrobeat Visions LP available on Mr Bongo Records.
Bukky Leo has now done a U turn back with his earlier collaborators Radio 1 DJ Gilles Peterson & master DJ Simbad who have now remixed the Single “Skeleton” taken from the forthcoming Album “Anarchy” produced by the great dub master Dennis Bovell whose track record goes back to the 70’s producing the likes of Sade, Aswad, Fela Kuti, Madness, I Roy, Alpha Blondy, Bananarama, Bobby Cray to name a few. This is billed to be a milestone Afrobeat Master piece. Will be available on Warner Bros subsidiary label agogo Records. Due out in summer of 2012. Watch this Space!