Rhythm Planet's Autumn Serenade

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French-Lebanese singer Yara Lapidus covers John Lennon's "How" on her new album Photo: Fanny Latour-Lambert

This week’s music mix ushers in the fall season with songs from France, Lebanon, Jamaica, Estonia, Pakistan, Niger, Brazil, and more. The playlist begins with one of Yves Montand’s versions of “Les Feuilles Mortes,” the French original of what became the popular “Autumn Leaves.” The French version is more somber and nostalgic than the English version, with lyrics penned by the great poet Jacques Prévert. We’ll also hear John Coltrane’s evergreen “Autumn Serenade” from his Standards album.

Cape Verdean star Lucibela makes the list, with her beautiful song “Porto Novo Vila Crioula.” She is on tour and will perform locally at the historic Miracle Theater in Inglewood on September 26.  I’m looking forward to that show. After that, we revisit Egberto Gismonti’s beautiful ballad “Meninas” (Children) from his ECM album Infância.

The playlist also includes a crop of new jazz sides from Vince Mendoza,  pianist Christian Jacob, vocalist Lisa Rich, French manouche (gypsy jazz) guitarist Dorado Schmitt, mallet master Erik Charlston, bassist Ben Wolfe, and guitarist Steve Khan playing a cool Ornette Coleman song.

I also feature an amazing live track from the Pakistani sufi master Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, recorded at WOMAD in 1985 and just released for the first time by Real World. This concert took place at the beginnings of what became known as world music and really turned some heads around. I follow that with Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s “Fratres,” performed here by violinist Margaret Batjer and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. The original version of it on ECM with Gidion Kramer came out around the same time as Nusrat’s live concert. Charlie Haden brought me the LP, and we debuted it on Morning Becomes Eclectic together.

We’ll hear classic blues from B.B. King, and some desert blues by Mdou Moctar from Niger. Singer and banjo player Rhiannon Giddens collaborates with Italian multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi on her latest release, and I would be remiss not to also highlight the brand new double-LP 180 gram audiophile reissue of Ray Charles’s classic 1962 album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music. It was the first album where he was totally in charge of material, and the selection surprised a lot of people.

Keeping it eclectic, we listen to the song “How – Kif” (an Arabic-language cover of John Lennon’s “How”) from the French-Lebanese singer Yara Lapidus. This is the first time Lennon’s estate has allowed a cover and foreign-language adaption of the song. Her U.S. debut album Just a Dream Away also includes a duet track with Iggy Pop. On the tropical Latin side I selected music from New York City’s merengue masters Oro Solido and the U.K. band Grupo X. The inimitable Jamaican legend Lee “Scratch” Perry is out with a new album, too, so we’ll hear “Stir It Up (In the Pot)” from Rootz Reggae Dub. Hope you enjoy the mix!

Rhythm Planet Playlist for 9/24/19

  1. Yves Montand / “Les Feuilles Mortes” / Replay Music
  2. John Coltrane & Johnny Hartman / “Autumn Serenade” / Impulse! Records
  3. Lucibela / “Porto Novo Vila Crioula” / Lusafrica
  4. Egberto Gismonte Group / “Meninas” / ECM Records
  5. Vince Mendoza & Temple University Studio Orchestra / “Solace and Inspiration” / BCM&D Records
  6. Ray Charles / “You Are My Sunshine” / Concord Records
  7. B.B. King / “The Woman I Love” / Virgin Records
  8. Mdou Moctar / “Anna” / Sahel Sounds
  9. Oro Solido / “La Paleta” / 24K Entertainment Group
  10. Grupo X / “Whatever You Dream (You Can Begin)” / Loft Records
  11. Rhiannon Giddens with Francesco Turrisi / “Gonna Write Me a Letter” / Nonesuch
  12. Yara Lapidus / “How – Kif” (Arabic) / Yara Lapidus
  13. Lee “Scratch” Perry / “Stir It Up (In the Pot)” / Megawave
  14. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan / “Allah Ho Allah Ho” / Real World Records
  15. Margaret Batjer & Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra / “Fratres (Version for Strings & Percussion)” / BIS
  16. The Christian Jacob Trio / “Through Child’s Eyes” / WilderJazz
  17. Erik Charleston, JazzBrasil / “Nem Um Talvez” / Sunnyside
  18. Lisa Rich / “Contessa” / Tritone Records
  19. Dorado Schmitt Quintette / “Made in Italy” / Stunt Records
  20. Steve Khan / “T. & T.” / Tone Center
  21. Ben Wolfe / “What’s New” / Resident Arts Records