Rhythm Planet: September Songs

Written by

London-based saxophonist Nubya Garcia Photo by Adama Jalloh

This week’s Rhythm Planet playlist includes a bit of everything, and we highlight some of the tracks here. We begin with “September Song” from Lou Reed, who contributed to a classic compilation of music by Kurt Weill at the behest of the late Hal Willner. We then segue into an introspective song titled “Mirror” from the New York-based vocalist/composer Shelley Thomas. Thomas taps a wide palette of instruments and influences in her music, such as qanuns, ouds, and working with a ten-piece microtonal group.

Next comes an artist who records under the name Liquid Terrain, using a plethora of wind and percussion instruments to create an interesting and restful hybrid. We also feature a new collaboration from Yemenite Israeli star Yasmin Levy and Turkish virtuoso Omar Faruk Tekbilek, two artists I’ve followed for years. 

Bassist Gary Peacock, known mostly for being part of Keith Jarrett’s trio for over 30 years, just died at the age of 85. We hear a track from his 2017 ECM album Tangents and one from his 1977 album called Tales of Another, with Keith Jarrett as his sideman. Tales of Another was a seminal release, paving the way for Jarrett’s massively successful Standards Trio albums.

Saxophonist Nubya Garcia is part of London’s current jazz scene, winning rave reviews from critics and audiences. She won the Jazz FM Breakthrough Act of the Year award in 2018 then the Jazz FM UK Jazz Act of the Year award a year later. To find out how and why her star is rising, we check out a track from her new Concord Jazz release called “Pace.” It is what has become known as “spiritual jazz” with roots that go back to John Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Azar Lawrence, and more recently to Kamasi Washington and UK’s Shabaka and the Ancestors.

Reggae veteran Toots Hibbert, founder of Toots and the Maytals, just passed away at age 77.  Along with Jimmy Cliff, Peter Tosh, and Bob Marley, Hibbert helped spread the popularity of reggae worldwide. We listen to a live version of an early song called “Country Roads,” a love song to his native land. 

Two new solo recordings of Bach’s Goldberg Variations have just come out, one from superstar pianist Lang Lang and the second on the big French harp performed by Parker Ramsay.  I’ve been listening a lot to the Ramsay CD. The contemporary harpist Tasha Smith Godinez follows, performing Chick Corea’s music.

We hear the late singer/songwriter Luiz Melodia performing a classic samba called “A Voz do Morro” (Voice of the Hill). The song imparts joy and will never sound old. I heard it on the radio and really liked it. We follow that with Brazilian jazz pianist Ricardo Bacelar’s live version of a classic Milton Nascimento composition that fits the pandemic zeitgeist today—“Nada Será Como Antes” (Nothing Will Be As It Was).

We bring the playlist to a close with the British singer Jorja Smith and her remake of St. Germain’s “Rose Rouge.” It’s the first single from an upcoming Blue Note Re:imagined collection of classic Blue Note tracks recorded by young UK artists. I heard the final track recently on MBE, and it’s a fun and bouncy number by Peggy Gou, a Berlin-based South Korean DJ, record producer, and fashion designer.

Rhythm Planet Playlist for 9/15/20 

  1. Lou Reed / “September Song” / A&M
  2. Shelley Thomas / “Mirror” / Shelley Thomas
  3. Liquid Terrain / “Tai Chu (The Great Accumulation)” / Liquid Terrain
  4. Omar Faruk Tekbilek, Yasmin Levy, S.I.S. Project / “Vivir – S.I.S. Project Deep House Remix” / LifeArt
  5. Tame Impala, Four Tet / “Is It True – Four Tet Remix” / Universal Music Australia
  6. Gregory Porter / “Revival Song” / Universal Music Division Decca Records France
  7. Gary Peacock Trio / “Rumblin’” / ECM Records
  8. Gary Peacock, Keith Jarrett, Jack DeJohnette / “Vignette” / ECM Records
  9. Nubya Garcia / “Pace” / Concord Jazz
  10. Toots & The Maytals / “Country Roads – Live” / Passage Productions
  11. Mike Fahie Jazz Orchestra / “Prélude, Op. 28 no. 20” / Greenleaf Music
  12. The South Florida Jazz Orchestra / “Cheap Thrills” / Summit Records
  13. Lang Lang / “Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Aria” / Deutsche Grammophone
  14. Parker Ramsay / “Bach: Goldberg Variations, BWV 988: Variation 1 (Arr. For Harp)” / Kings College Cambridge
  15. Tasha Smith Godinez / “Children’s Song 2” / Ennanga Records
  16. John Finbury / “Lay Me Down” / Green Flash Music    
  17. Barrett Martin Group / “The Fountain” / Sunyata Records
  18. Jeff Hamilton Trio / “Make Me Rainbows” / Capri Records
  19. Luiz Melodia / “A Voz do Morro” / Som Livre
  20. Ricardo Bacelar / “Nada Será Como Antes (Ao Vivo)” / Bacelar Produções
  21. Jorja Smith / “Rose Rouge” / Decca (UMO)
  22. Peggy Gou / “It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)” / Ninja Tune