Armand Sabal-Lecco

Armand Sabal-Lecco is a Cameroonian bass guitarist, composer and multi-instrumentalist best known for playing bass-guitar on Paul Simon's The Rhythm of the Saint's tour in 1989.[1] Sabal-Lecco has worked with Paul Simon, the Brecker Brothers, Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke, John Patitucci, Vanessa Williams and many others.[2] Armand is one of the world's leading session artists and also the brother of drummer Félix Sabal Lecco.

Armand Sabal-Lecco
Instrument(s)Bass guitar

Early yearsEdit

Armand Sabal-Lecco was born in Cameroon.[3] Armand Sabal-Lecco's father, Félix Sabal Lecco, was a minister in the government of Ahmadou Ahidjo, and was later appointed ambassador to Italy and France.[4] His father played the guitar as a young man, and two of his brothers are also musicians: Félix is a drummer and Roger is a bass player. Armand began playing the guitar when he was six, then took up drumming, and eventually settled on the bass, although he is not limited to that instrument.[3] According to Armand, his older brother Roger would often be late for rehearsals and shows, and Armand began standing in for him as bass player. He decided the bass was more convenient than drums, easier to pack up, so he had more chance of picking up girls before they left after the show.[5] When he was fifteen, his father sent him to Paris to live with one of his sisters.[6]


In Cameroon, Armand Sabal-Lecco had played funk, rock and straight-ahead jazz. It was only after moving to Europe that he started introducing African elements to his music.[6] In the early 1980s he co-founded the Ogogoro Gang, an Afro Funk band, and began playing clubs on Europe. After a year the group was voted the number one "Jeune espoir francais". He also developed his skills as a composer during this period. Armand and his brother Félix formed the African fusion band Xamahal, performing together at the 1986 European Jazz Festival. Later he joined the Manu Dibango Band, led by Cameroonian saxophone and vibraphone player Manu Dibango. He toured with this band around the world and played on several of their albums.[7]

In 1989 Armand Sabal-Lecco was invited to New York by Paul Simon to play bass on Simon's eighth studio album, The Rhythm of the Saints, released in 1990. His brother, Félix, plays drums on this album. This was followed by a 14-month world tour.[7][8] On 15 August 1991 he performed with Paul Simon to an audience of over 750,000 people in New York's Central Park.[9] In 1993 he was invited to Washington D.C. to play with Paul Simon at President Bill Clinton's inauguration festivities.[7] Sabal-Lecco played on Stanley Clarke's 1993 album East River Drive, and often played with Clarke in the years that followed. He became an official member of the Stanley Clarke band in 2002. In 2004 he played at the Bahamas Jazz Festival as a member of this band.[3]

A sample of other artists with whom he has played includes Vanessa Williams, Maxi Priest, the Brecker Brothers, Herbie Hancock, Manu Dibango, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Jonathan Butler, Sting and Ray Charles.[3] He is also known for composing, singing, arranging and producing.[10] He composed two songs and co-authored the cover song for John Patitucci's 1993 Another World, later nominated for a Grammy Award.[7] As a composer he has written for Carole King, Jeff Beck, Robin Thicke, Stewart Copeland, John Patitucci and Don Grusin.[10] His album Positive Army, which also features his brother Felix, was due to be released in June 2012. He plays a range of instruments on this album.[11]


Albums on which Armand Sabal-Lecco has performed include:[12]

Date Album Format Main artists
1990 The Rhythm of the Saints CD Paul Simon
1991 Paul Simon's Concert in the Park CD Paul Simon
1992 Return of the Brecker Brothers CD Brecker Brothers
1993 East River Drive CD Stanley Clarke
1993 Another World CD John Patitucci
1993 Native Land CD Don Grusin
1994 Mistura Fina CD John Patitucci
1994 Kindred Way 2 CD Jon Strider
1994 Banana Fish CD Don Grusin
1994 Classical Soul CD Marc Antoine
1994 Out of the Loop CD Brecker Brothers
1994 Wakafrika CD Manu Dibango
1996 Freedom CD Michael English
1998 C'est La Vie CD Henri Dikongué
1998 How to Write Love Songs CD Mass Mental
1999 Flamenco A Go-Go CD Steve Stevens
1999 I Wanna Be Santa Claus CD Ringo Starr
1999 Jordan Knight CD Jordan Knight
1999 Priceless Jazz CD Brecker Brothers
1999 Slowing Down the World CD Chris Botti
2001 Love Makes the World CD Carole King
2001 Blue Planet CD Robin DiMaggio
2001 MTV Unplugged CD Alejandro Sanz
2002 Maia Sharp CD Maia Sharp
2002 The Paul Simon Anthology 2 CD Paul Simon
2003 Very Best of Marc Antoine CD Marc Antoine
2003 1, 2, to the Bass CD Stanley Clarke
2004 The Futurist CD Robert Downey Jr.
2006 Kinesthetics CD Scott Kinsey
2007 Stewart Copeland Collection CD Stewart Copeland
2010 Stanley Clarke Band CD Stanley Clarke
2016 CIDER ~ Hard & Sweet ~ CD Senri Kawaguchi
2018 Mankind Woman[13] CD, LP Brant Bjork


  1. ^ "Armand Sabal-Lecco | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved 29 September 2020.
  2. ^ "Out of Africa : Bassist Armand Sabal- Lecco's star has been rising since leaving Cameroon. He's worked with Paul Simon, among others". Los Angeles Times. 4 March 1994. Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d Mary Bentley (July 2005). "Armand Sabal Lecco". Smooth Views. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  4. ^ Mouandjo, Pierre-Patrick (24 October 2010). "Félix Sabal Lecco est mort". Cameroun Actu. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  5. ^ "Armand Sabal-Lecco". Electric Bassland. 8 November 2005. Archived from the original on 23 January 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  6. ^ a b ZAN STEWART (4 March 1994). "Out of Africa : Bassist Armand Sabal-Lecco's star has been rising since leaving Cameroon. He's worked with Paul Simon, among others". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d "Armand Sabal-Lecco". Neuser Basses. Archived from the original on 7 June 2010. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  8. ^ "Paul Simon – The Rhythm of the Saints". Discogs. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  9. ^ "Armand Sabal-Lecco "Proof" w. Paul Simon 1991". Johnny Copland. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  10. ^ a b "Armand Sabal-Lecco Info". Dunlop Manufacturing. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  11. ^ Jean-Jacques Dikongué (1 June 2012). "Le nouvel Armand Sabal Lecco est là". Tribune2. Archived from the original on 4 February 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  12. ^ "Armand Sabal-Lecco Discography of CDs". CD Universe. Retrieved 31 July 2012.
  13. ^ "Brant Bjork – Mankind Woman". Discogs. Retrieved 3 August 2022.