Show #132: 10 Great New Fall Album Releases

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We’ll start with the current top new releases at KCRW: St. Germain‘s eponymous new album. It’s a brilliant bit of alchemy, bringing blues roots, African music, and house vibes together. Congratulations to Ludovic Navarre, the Frenchman behind it all.

Our favorite kiwi band, Fat Freddy’s Drop, has a great new album called Bays. I’ve been a fan of theirs for years, and they never disappoint. The lead singer, Tamaira, has that sweet puppy voice drawing you in — in some ways he sounds a bit like another wonderful singer, Cesar Rosas of Los Lobos.

Bronx-born-bred-and-raised bass player Carlos Henriquez is next, laying down some mean Latin jazz.  He has become one of the first-call upright bass players on the East Coast.

<!-- missing image -->We follow it with a big production Ask Your Mama (poetry by Langston Hughes) which features many pop, jazz, and operatic artists (including The Roots and jazz vocalist Nnenna Freelon) performing music based on African-American poet Langston Hughes’ 1961 work “Ask Your Mama.”

A great new multi-disc set of Erroll Garner‘s legendary 1955 performance in Carmel, Calif., is next. It documents all three nights of his great concert from there so long ago. It was captured on tape by KCRW’s late jazz historian Will Thornbury and even includes his post-concert interview for the first time. A must-listen for all Garner fans, including yours truly.

The mood becomes more meditative on the next two tracks. Italian superstar Ludovico Einaudi‘s new album Elements has shot to the top of the European classical charts, and he’s much in demand for movie soundtracks and commercials; his music is visually evocative. Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan follows, with Armenian sacred hymns that date all the way back to 500 A.D. The stunning soprano is Jenni Nazaryan, and I am completely smitten by her voice.

<!-- missing image -->I picked up the the new one by fado star Mariza when I visited in Paris on a recent trip — the album is not out here in the U.S. yet! On this album, she explores different musical styles than traditional fado, Portugal’s great musical art form.  The new album, Mundo, should bring her new fans.

We bring it back home next with Los Angeles’ favorite Cambodian rock band Dengue Fever. Lead singer Chhom Nimol even throws in some Cambodian rap on this number “No Sudden Moves.” Her voice pairs wonderfully with her gringo musicians.

We close with a hot rumba number from Senegal’s Dieuf-Dieul de Thies, a band that reached fame in Dakar over thirty years ago, broke up, and now is back delivering some great Afro-Latin dance grooves. I love this cut and if you don’t, something is terribly wrong.