This Week's Best of the Best

I’ve been a DJ at KCRW now for many years, and still, the sheer volume of new releases I get sent on a weekly basis never ceases to astound me. It’s a major time investment auditioning all of them, especially because I feel somewhat of a moral responsibility to give each of them a fair shot at ear time so that I can provide you guys with the best of the best!

We’ll begin this week’s Rhythm Planet show with a CD that was sent to me from Colombia by Leonor Dely and her group, Millero Congo“Alegria” has got a great Afro-Colombian rhythmic groove that is just infectious. After that we listen to trumpet player, Pete Rodriguez, son of the legendary Pete “El Conde” Rodriguez of the Puerto Rican supergroup, the Fania All-Stars. Brazilian guitarist and singer Vinicius Cantuaria teams up next with guitarist, Bill Frisell, on a Antônio Carlos Jobim classic“Só Danço Samba.”

Then, Italian pianist Giovanni Guidi does a trio version of the old Nat King Cole en Español classic, “Quizas Quizas Quizas” (Maybe Maybe Maybe).

I also feature a new, 4-CD set of Sinatra Sings Great Songs From Great Britain, classics rearranged especially for Ol’ Blue Eyes himself by the composer/arranger Robert Farnon and recorded in 1962. Cécile McLoren Salvant comes next with her beautiful rendering of Edith Piaf classic “La Vie en Rose,” from Uruguayan violinist, Federico Britos’s new album, Hot Clubs of the AmericasHe reminds me of the French jazz violinist, Stèphane Grappelli, with a Latin twist.

Bassist Lorin Cohen follows with Victor Provost on steelpans—check this guy out! Provost is nothing short of phenomenal. I’ve never heard steelpan drums quite like this, not even Andy Narell’s!

We wrap this week’s Rhythm Planet with a rather unusual a cappella version of an old song made famous by both Egyptian-French superstar, Dalida, and popular fadista, Amália Rodrigues. It’s called “Mãe Preta,” sung live here by Sara Serpa in a New York City club (listen carefully and you’ll even hear a siren passing by in the recording). Then last but certainly not least, it’s the fabulous vibraphonist, Joe Locke, before we end with jazz pianist Cyrus Chestnut’s version of Lionel Ritchie’s “Hello.”

Hope you enjoy these ten new music treasures. More new releases to follow next week!





Tom Schnabel