September Jukebox

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This week we listen to nine songs, new and old, that have caught my ear and tickled my fancy. We begin with Bogota’s Monsieur Periné and the title track of their latest album, “Encanto Tropical” (Tropical Enchantment). The charming song cheerfully blends Latin beats and pop elements. Monsieur Periné won a Latin Grammy in 2015 for best new artist, and their new album has been very well received by critics and fans alike.

The theme of tropical enchantment continues as we next sail to the French Antilles island of Guadeloupe. We hear a classic 1960’s tropical track from Orchestre Esperanza Et Jean Leroy, off of the recently reissued Disques Debs International CD. Henri Debs, the label’s founder, was a young music fan of Lebanese descent who sold clothes and fashion accessories in a street stall to fund the record label bearing his name. Thanks to Strut Records for the wonderful reissue.

We then turn to Brazilian singer Caro Pierotto and hear the new single “Mera Ilusão” from a forthcoming solo album which she is producing with Grecco Buratto. Pierotto left Brazil and a corporate job 10 years ago to pursue her musical dreams in Los Angeles. Her first album, Volta ao Mundo (Around the World), became a KCRW favorite.

The jazz and trip-hop group Slowly Rolling Camera hails from Cardiff, England, and their electronic soundscapes have been compared to The Cinematic Orchestra. We listen to the track “Helsinki” off their new album Juniper.

Pianist Alice Sara Ott (Photo © Ester Haase)

German-Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott offers up the latest piano tribute to Claude Debussy, who died 100 years ago in 1918. Ott performs Debussy with subtlety and great finesse. Her lovely new Deutsche Grammophone album Nightfall also includes Erik Satie’s famous Trois Gymnopedies, plus Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit and his always moving Pavane pour une infante défunte (Pavane for a Dead Princess).

The young singer Anandi Bhattacharya is the daughter of veteran Indian slide guitar master Debashish Bhattacharya who, along with Vishwa Mohann Bhatt, brought the slide guitar into prominence. (I once featured him on a Café LA show called Slide Guitar Summit.) Under her father’s tutelage, Anandi has become one of the brightest new stars of contemporary Indian music at just 22. Indian music migrated to Spain centuries ago with Rajasthani gypsies, and we hear this musical fusion in the track “Migration of Colours (Buleria Meets Holi)” that combines the two traditions.

Here’s another track from Anandi’s new album, Joys Abound:

Ólafur Arnalds is part of a new generation of Icelandic composers focusing on contemporary classical music. Like the work of the late Jóhann Jóhannsson, Arnald’s visually evocative compositions have often been used in soundtracks. He is a versatile artist equally at home with classical composition, ambient, experimental, and electropop. The brand new album re:member features a new music system devised by Arnalds called Stratus, described on Wikipedia as “two self-playing, semi-generative player pianos which are triggered by a central piano played by Olafur.… As Olafur plays a note on the piano, two different notes are generated by Stratus, creating unexpected harmonies and surprising melodic sequences.”

Upright bassist Katie Thiroux excels not only in the big wooden instrument, but also in jazz vocals and scat. Called a “triple threat” because of her multiple musical talents, Thiroux won a down beat magazine “Best Album of 2017.” She studied bass with super-bassist John Clayton and singing with Tierney Sutton. We hear one from her 2015 debut album Introducing Katie Thiroux. Currently on tour, Thiroux makes a stop at Pasadena’s Bacchus’ Kitchen on Monday, September 24. And if you’re lucky enough to fly Emirates Airlines, you might enjoy Thiroux’s music as you float above in total flying luxury.

We close out the Spotify playlist this week with a single from Peru’s Novalima, the Afro-Peruvian sound system, due for release September 14 on Wonderwheel Recordings.

Last but not least, I wanted to share this video of one of Brazil’s greatest guitarists who passed from our planet way too soon. Rosinha de Valença (1941-2004) was a member of the bossa novistas of the early 1960’s, along with Vinicius de Moraes, Tom Jobim, and Baden Powell. Her superb guitar artistry won her a spot on Sérgio Mendes’s band Brasil ‘65, playing Baden Powell’s “Consolação.” I was blown away by this clip of her playing that song in a German TV show from 1966:

Rhythm Planet Playlist 9/4/18

  1. Monsieur Periné / “Encanto Tropical” / Encanto Tropical / Sony Music
  2. Orchestre Esperanza Et Jean Leroy / “Ou Pas Bel” / Disques Debs International Vol. 1 / Strut
  3. Caro Pierotto / “Mera Ilusão” / Mera Ilusão / YB Music
  4. Slowly Rolling Camera / “Helsinki” / Juniper / Edition Records
  5. Alice Sara Ott / “Debussy: Rêverie, L. 68” / Nightfall / Deutsche Grammophone
  6. Anandi Bhattacharya / “Migration of Colours (Buleria Meets Holi)” / Joys Abound / Riverboat Records
  7. Ólafur Arnalds / “ypsilon” / re:member / Decca
  8. Katie Thiroux / “I’m Old Fashioned” / Introducing Katie Thiroux / BassKat Music
  9. Novalima / “El Regalo” / El Regalo / Wonderwheel Recordings