For the last 3 weeks, I’ve been playing my personal selection of timeless classics. It’s time to check out some new jams. We begin with a nice track from the ARC label, featuring a number of great Brazilian musicians accompanying a West African traditional 21 string harp-lute, the kora, played here by Ravi (aka J.P. Freeman). The CD, The Afro-Brazilian Project, features top-flight Brazilian musicians like singer Marlui Miranda, clarinetist Paulo Moura, and drummers Robertinho Silva and Armando Marçal.
Next, a longish song from veteran drum poet Billy Hart, working here with the big WDR Orchestra, a crack German studio orchestra. French-Israeli singer Yael Naïm follows with a cut from her new album, Older. She’s known for Steve Jobs choosing her song for the launch of the MacBook Air in 2008, which rocketed her to the top 10 of Billboard’s charts.
Sudanese pop singer Alsarah and her group the Nubatones are next. I love the groove of this track. We move slightly south on the African continent with a reissue of Ethiopian musician Yishak Banjaw‘s instrumental album Love Songs Vol. 2. Then we travel to the other side of the continent to hear another reissue, this time of some accordion dance music from Cape Verde’s Bitori. The Cape Verdean style is called funana — it’s a a working-class popular music that the colonial authorities (Portugal) banned prior to Cape Verdean independence in 1975. I visited Cape Verde and have always found it amazing that this small archipelago of islands off the coast of Senegal has produced so many musicians and musical styles. The best-known of course is the late Cesaria Evora.
We conclude with a trio of jazz sides, one new release from tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, followed by two classics from the late singer Abbey Lincoln and guitarist Calvin Keys.
Rhythm Planet Playlist for 9/30/16:
- Ravi / “Paranaguá” / The Afro-Brazilian Project / ARC Music
- Billy Hart & The WDR Big Band / “Lullaby for Imke” / The Broader Picture / Yellowbird Records
- Yael Naïm / “I Walk Until” / Older / Tot Ou Tard
- Alsarah & The Nubatones / “Salam Nubia” / Manara / Wonderwheel Recordings
- Yishak Banjaw / “Ageren Ayehuwat” / Love Songs Vol. 2 / Teranga Beat
- Various Artists / “Bitori Nha Bibinha” / Legend of Funana: Forbidden Music of the Capes / Analog Africa
- Eric Alexander / “Second Impression” / Second Impression / HighNote
- Abbey Lincoln / “Long As You’re Living” / Abbey is Blue / Riverside/Original Jazz Classics
- Calvin Keys / “Criss Cross” / Criss Cross / Ovation Records