In February 2015, the two African saxophonists began discussing a list of songs. In March 2015, Moreira flew to Paris to rehearse with Manu Dibango’s band comprising of -Cameroonians, Jacques Conti Bilong on drums, Guy Nwongang on percussion, Justin Bowen on piano-keyboards and Guy Nsangué Akwa on bass guitar and Valérie Belinga on vocals. From France, Patrick Marie-Magdelaine on guitar, Isabel Gonzalez on vocals and two-time Grammy award-winner – for his work on Zawinal Syndicate – Paco Séry on sanza (more commonly known as the mbira).
“I am honoured and humbled by the opportunity and circumstance created by “Papa Manu” to express, experiment, sometimes in a very disruptive manner, the rhythms and grooves that I have never heard; the chords and melodies that I never thought I would record; the meals, talks and jokes that we shared whilst building this historical storm.
M&M is a celebration of similarities and differences, diversity and pluralism, love and hate, empathy and passion. M&M mirrors once more that in a creative world the best form of evolution is the collaboration. M&M is the true reflection that as Africans we can live together, love each other and break all negative boundaries related to our wellbeing.“ says Moreira.
The album was recorded at Ferber Studios in Paris, France under engineer Guillaume DuJardin and was mastered at Milestone Studios in Cape Town, South Africa by Murray Anderson.
Moreira Chonguiça has produced the album, he performs on alto and soprano saxophone and the arrangements with the exception of Track 1 and 10 are by Manu Dibango who performs on the vibraphone and saxophones.
For Manu, it was an opportunity to give African meaning to established American jazz standards and to “return the boat to African soil”. For Moreira, the privilege of working with Manu at this level was an extraordinary experience that only comes along once in a lifetime.