The fall season has started with a bumper crop of new releases and cool reissues, so we’ll feature many of them this week and next. We begin though with an in memoriam—the trumpeter/conga virtuoso Jerry González, who died in Spain on October 1 due to carbon monoxide poisoning in an apartment fire. González was an amazing musician who fronted the Fort Apache Band (named after the Bronx police station), and I’ve been watching the accolades pour in. He will be greatly missed. We hear the song “Rosa Para Julia” from an album recorded in Spain with his band Los Piratas del Flamenco.
Vibraphonist Stefon Harris’s new album Sonic Creed honors the legacy of jazz masters such as Bobby Hutcherson, Abbey Lincoln, and Wayne Shorter. We check out his cover of a Wayne Shorter song that I have always loved—“Go,” originally from Shorter’s classic Blue Note album, Schizophrenia.
Since 2018 marks the centennial of Leonard Bernstein’s birth, I thought I’d feature “Something’s Coming” from 1955’s West Side Story, performed here by the vocal group The Hi-Lo’s. It comes from their album And All That Jazz.
We move next to “Undiú,” an odd and repetitive, but wonderful song written by João Gilberto back in 1973. We listen to a new version by Mexican jazz singer Magos Herrera with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider. Ugandan folk singer Samite follows with a gorgeous song called “Space” that I’ve been wanting to showcase for a while now. It’s finally available on Spotify, off of his album Resilience.
Pianist and composer Stu Mindeman’s latest album Woven Threads was inspired by his childhood memories of living in Chile and reconnecting with the country’s culture and music through recent trips. The track “A Thousand Stars” features jazz vocalist Kurt Elling and pays tribute to Violeta Parra, the Chilean composer of “Gracias a La Vida,” “Alfonsina y El Mar,” and other classics.
The Analog Africa label seeks out and (re)issues rare and unreleased music from Africa. This time they bring us the funky grooves of the Dur-Dur Band of Somalia, with the song “Dab” from the height of the band’s popularity in Mogadishu during the 1980’s. The double CD (and triple LP) set includes reissues of the band’s first two cassettes as well as previously unreleased tracks—sourced from long-lost master tapes unearthed by Analog Africa’s founder Samy Ben Redjeb on a trip to Mogadishu.
The super UK label World Circuit has just reissued a 1992 album by South African pianist Bheki Mseleku called Celebration on two deluxe LP’s. We hear a heartwarming song called “Joy,”an apt title if there ever was one. Another superb vinyl reissue comes from Universal Music, with jazz saxophonist Pharoah Sanders’s timeless album Thembi, originally released on Impulse! Records in 1971. We feature “Astral Traveling”—a favorite of many Sanders fans.
We wrap up this week’s playlist with “Mode for Trane” from a wonderful collective comprised of Bruce Barth on piano, Terell Stafford on trumpet, and Dick Oatts, saxophones. Listen and you can see where the title comes from. Coltrane would enjoy this one, so I hope he’s listening.
Rhythm Planet Playlist for 10/9/18
- Jerry González / “Rosa Para Julia” / Jerry Gonzalez y Los Piratas del Flamenco / Sunnyside
- Stefon Harris & Blackout / “Go” / Sonic Creed / Motema Music
- The Hi-Lo’s / “Something’s Coming” / And All That Jazz / P&R
- Magos Herrera & Brooklyn Rider / “Undiú” / Dreamers / RCA Records
- Samite / “Space” / Resilience / Samite Artistic Productions
- Stu Mindeman featuring Kurt Elling / “A Thousand Stars” / Woven Threads / Sunnyside
- Dur-Dur Band / “Dab” / Dur Dur of Somalia, Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 / Analog Africa
- Bheki Mseleku featuring Marvin Smith & Michael Bowie / “Joy” / Celebration / World Circuit
- Pharoah Sanders / “Astral Traveling” / Thembi / Impulse! Records
- Various Artists / “Mode for Trane” / Family Feeling / BCM&D Records
Stu Mindeman Carousel image c/o: Eugenia Han