Rhythm Planet #46: New Releases

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This week Rhythm Planet features thirteen new releases, covering African, reggae, Brazilian, Moroccan, guitar maestros, and two great LA bands.

A bunch of good new album releases have been filling up my bag lately, so I want to give them some love and share them. I get sent a lot of music and screen new albums by auditioning them first. As the U.S. Marines slogan goes, ‘many are called, few are chosen’.

We start with Prince Fatty, a UK-based artist who puts out some tasty dancehall grooves. After that, one of LA’s favorite bands, Ozomatli, in a song with beautiful lyrics, “Only Love”. The big desert groove of Tinariwen follows, the Tuareg band from Northern Mali actually recorded this new album out in the SoCal desert.

A group called Atash, based in Austin, Texas, follows with a nice track from their new album Everything is Music. Moroccan trance music maestro Hassan Hakmoun has a new album of gnawa (ritual trance music of Morocco brought by subsaharan African slaves long ago) grooves called Unity, and it’s solid from start to finish. This set concludes with the Malian modal groove of Mamadou Kelly.

Next up we have some amazing acoustic guitarists: Jason Vieaux, Romero Lubambo, Dori Caymmi, and the LA-based group Bossa Zuzu, their album produced by veteran super-drummer Peter Erskine. Vieaux is an amazingly polished virtuoso.  Everything he does is perfect. Lubambo is a busy Brazilian guitar player and first-call session musician. Dori Caymmi comes from one of Brazil’s greatest musical families; his sister and brother are fabulous musicians, and his father, the late Dorival Caymmi, wrote the book on modern Brazilian musical styles, paving the way for big stars like Tom Jobim and Caetano Veloso.

Veteran producer, multi-instrumentalist Joe Claussell and his son José put a band together called Rebel Tumbao, which fuses reggae, tropical latin, and conscious lyrics. Their song is directed at the bankers who helped cause the economic meltdown of 2008. After that a strange song by trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire, an American trumpet player with a taste for the abstract. One of my favorite singers is Becca Stevens, who appears on this one cut.

We wrap it up with a swinging album by a young tenor sax players named John Ellis from the fine Dutch label Criss Cross, which is regarded as the Blue Note of Holland.

These are a few of my current faves; more to come soon.


Rhythm Planet Playlist: 3/14/14

  1. Prince Fatty / Scrub A Dub Style (Feat. Sugar Minott) / Prince Fatty Vs. Mungo’s Hi-Fi/ MR Bongo
  2. Ozomatli / Only Love / Place In The Sun/ Vanguard
  3. Tinariwen/ Chaghaybou/ Emmaar / Anti
  4. Atash / Baaraan (Rain) / Everything Is Music / Ars Mundi
  5. Hassan Hakmoun / Balili / Unity / Real World
  6. Mamadou Kelly / Donso Foly / Adibar / Clermont
  7. Jason Vieaux / Jongo / Play / Azica
  8. Romero Lubambo / A Felicildade / So / Sunnyside
  9. Dori Caymmi / Manto Real / Setenta Anos / Acari
  10. Bossa Zuzu / Laguna Song / Under Leaves Under Sky / Bossa Zuzu
  11. Rebel Tumbao / Masters of Greed / Rebel Tumbao / Rubb Dubb
  12. Ambrose Akinmusire / Our Basement / The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint / Blue Note Records
  13. John Ellis / What Do You Do? / It’s You I Like / Criss Cross

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