February New Music Mix

It’s time to feature some terrific new tunes—a few of which are just being released as I write. We begin with the wonderful Hollie Cook. I rarely ever say this, but every track on her new CD Vessel of Love is a winner. I love the production on her vocals, the live drums, the pace and ease of her songs, which always feel uplifting.

British soul singer James Hunter has recorded some good albums in the past. Now he’s with a new label, Daptone, founded by the late Sharon Jones (Dap Kings) and sounding even better. The song we hear, “I Don’t Wanna Be Without You,” was inspired by his wife.

We then hear the amazing French vocalese artist Camille Bertault as she covers the very difficult “Giant Steps” by John Coltrane. She calls the track “La Ou Tu Vas” (There where you’re going). Her performance, vocalizing Coltrane famous solo, is stupendous.

The hugely popular singer Melody Gardot comes next with a powerful live version of “The Rain,” recorded in Bergen, Norway. Her new 2-CD (or 3 LP) set, Live in Europe, showcases just how accomplished she is.

Wayne Escoffery is a fine tenor sax player who has released several albums on the Sunnyside label. “In His Eyes” is a nice straight-ahead number showing his talents. I like that he has his own style and sound. Definitely a tenor player to be watched.

I hadn’t previously heard of the progressive reggae group New Kingston, currently based in Brooklyn. The family band consists of brothers Tahir, Courtney, and Stephen, along with their father Courtney, Sr., who helped his sons begin their musical journey. We hear a track from their latest album A Kingston Story: Come from Far.

Caro Pierotto is an L.A.-based Brazilian singer I recently discovered. We feature her song “Deixa” (Leaves), actually released a couple of years ago, but she has a new album coming soon called Marbella. Pierotto has a wonderful voice, plus the melodic sound of Brazilian Portuguese always tickles my fancy.

We wrap up this show of new releases with a superb jazz album from the Jeff Hamilton Trio. I love acoustic trios like this as well as Jeff Hamilton’s drumming. His light touch and brushwork and accents remind me of the late Shelly Manne and the great Peter Erskine. Together for over a decade, the trio—with pianist Tamir Hendelman and bassist Christoph Luty—has perfected their craft and musical telepathy. Some jazz trio albums are boring, but not so this tasty new recording. Kudos also for engineering and mastering to Bill Smith, Steve Genewick, and Ron McMaster of Capitol Studios for the great sound (especially on tube gear) in a recording made at the Alvas Showroom in San Pedro.

Rhythm Planet Playlist for 2/2/18 

  1. Hollie Cook / "Together" /Vessel of Love/ Merge Records
  2.  The James Hunter Six / "I Don't Want To Be Without You" / Whatever It Takes / Daptone
  3. Camille Bertault / "Là où tu vas" / Pas de géant / Sony Music France/Okeh
  4. Melody Gardot / "The Rain" / Live In Europe / Verve
  5. Wayne Escoffery / "In His Eyes" / Vortex / Sunnyside
  6. New Kingston / "Honorable & The Beast" / A Kingston Story/Come From Far / Easy Star
  7. Caro Pierotto / "Deixa" (single) / Candela Music
  8. Jeff Hamilton Trio / "Poinciana" / Live From San Pedro / Capri





Tom Schnabel