Rhythm Planet: July Playlist Potpourri

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This week’s playlist potpourri features mostly new plus a sprinkling of vintage tracks from around the world. We also remember the late Ennio Morricone with classics from his soundtracks. The Spanish Harlem Orchestra, led by Oscar Hernández, kicks us off. I can’t stop listening to SHO’s new album The Latin Jazz Project. What rhythm and musicianship! We hear the latest from the Latin alternative ensemble LADAMA, whose all-female members hail from Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and the U.S. They sing in Spanish, Portuguese, and English on their second full-length album Oye Mujer.

New releases continue with music from multi-instrumentalist Derrick Hodge, Turkish oud master Mehmet Polat, and L.A.-based Persian singer Mahsa Vahdat with one from her new album Enlighten the Night. I like the guitar work on PEACE, the latest from Spirit Fingers, as well as Brazilian-born Ricardo Grilli’s album 1962.

We then remember Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who died recently at the age of 91. I love his soundtrack for The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, one of the many Sergio Leone Spaghetti Westerns that Morricone scored. The music is wacky and wonderful. We listen to the best-known piece from it, as well as a beautiful song from Cinema Paradiso, and a lush, beloved track from The Mission.

We start the next set of new releases with a lovely ballad called “Parity” from French-Canadian trumpet player Rachel Therrien. After that, the second studio album from pianist Aaron Parks and his quartet Little Big. I love acoustic bass so please check out a wonderful solo bass version of the standard “I’ll Remember April” from Peruvian bassist Jorge Roeder.

As always, we’ll hear African music on Rhythm Planet playlists, first from London-born, Nigeria-raised bassist Michael Olatuja featuring Angelique Kidjo, then Kenya’s Fadhilee Itulya, and also from a terrific African music compilation Pure Africa, featuring the still-amazing track “Moussolou” by Malian singer Oumou Sangaré, originally from her 1989 hit album of the same name. Pure Africa also includes music from Ghana, South Africa, Guinea, Senegal, Namibia, Ethiopia, Gambia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. Highly recommended for its coverage of many African styles.

The final set features a quartet of beautiful Brazilian songs that continue to stand the test of time. Brazilian music weaves a tapestry of sound and colors, brilliant writing and orchestrations. You could listen to songs like these forever, and they’ve been part of my musical life for a long time. So we finish this playlist with evergreens from Edu Lobo, Antônio Carlos Jobim, Mario Adnet, and an Afro-Brazilian spiritual from Virginia Rodrigues.

Rhythm Planet Playlist for July 14, 2020

  1. Spanish Harlem Orchestra / “Ritmo de mi Gente” / Spanish Harlem Orchestra
  2. LADAMA / “Misterio” / Six Degrees
  3. Derrick Hodge / “Little Tone Poem” / Blue Note Records
  4. Mehmet Polat / “Footprints” / Aftab Records
  5. Mahsa Vahdat / “Where is the Home of the Wind” / Kirkelig Kulterverksted AS
  6. Ricardo Grilli / “Signs” / Deko Music
  7. Spirit Fingers, Greg Spero / “Saltwater” / Ropeadope
  8. Ennio Morricone / “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – Main Title” / Capitol Records
  9. Ennio Morricone / “Visit to the Cinema” / DRG Records
  10. Ennio Morricone / “Gabriel’s Oboe” / EMI Marketing
  11. Rachel Therrien / “Parity” / Bonsaï Music
  12. Aaron Parks / “Attention, Earthlings” / Ropeadope
  13. Jorge Roeder / “I’ll Remember April” / T-Town Records
  14. Michael Olatuja featuring Angelique Kidjo / “Lagos Pepper Soup” / Whirlwind Recordings
  15. Fadhilee Itulya / “Mama” / Naxos World Music
  16. Oumou Sangaré / “Moussolou” / ARC
  17. Edu Lobo / “Estrada Branca” / Biscoito Fino
  18. Antônio Carlos Jobim / “A Chegada Dos Candangos” / Adventure Music
  19. Mario Adnet / “Trilhas da Floresta” / Adventure Music
  20. Virginia Rodrigues / “Canto de Yemanjá” / DG