Hot Weekend Grooves

This week, I’m especially excited about the new releases that I’ve been sent. I’ve got tracks for you from around the globe and back, which I’ll feature along with a few recent rediscoveries.

Let’s begin with a nice melding of traditional African and western classical music. It’s the music of the 21-string harp-lute kora, played by Malian virtuoso Ballaké Sissoko, in collaboration with French cellist, Vincent Ségal. Sissoko is descended from a family of griots, the traditional musicians and storytellers of West Africa that go back generations.

After that, we have another new track from the Los Angeles-based singer, Mamak Khadem, from her wonderful new album, The Road, inspired by her distant travels. From Iran to Macedonia and elsewhere, she researched and collected the sounds and music that inspired her along the way.

Next we have Luis Muñoz, a Costa Rican-born, Santa Barbara-based composer, whose new album showcases some great music and singers. In “Argentina,” we’ll hear Mexican singer, Magos Herrera, do a beautiful waltz tribute to Muñoz’s beloved aunt.

Brazilian singer Luciana Souza comes next, with“Hymn” from her soon-to-be-released album, Speaking in Tongues, which was produced by her husband and veteran producer, Larry Klein. The album is available for pre-order on Amazon now and is due to be released on September 18.

Two powerhouse performances follow. First up it’s “The Night has a Thousand Eyes” by an exceptional tenor sax player, Eric Alexander. After that, we’ll then revisit a great mid-1960s recording of “Azucar” by mambo king Eddie Palmieri that I recently rediscovered. Palmieri comes to the Walt Disney Concert Hall for a big show on October 20, which also features virtuoso Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés and his band, Irakere. For more information about their not-to-be-missed show and to purchase tickets, click here.

Hot on the heels of Eddie Palmieri, Cuban pianist Haróld Lopez-Nussa teams up with Senegalese bassist/vocalist Alune Wade for a redo of the early 1960s Congolese classic, “Indépendence Cha Cha.” It’s more proof that music knows no cultural bounds.

The Souljazz Orchestra is a band that just keeps getting better and better with their cool Haitian groove. This Canadian band is signed to the U.K.’s Strut Records and brings a delicious mix of soul, jazz, funk, Afrobeat and Latin. Check out their track, “Soleil Couchant” (Setting Sun), a fun song about Queen Elizabeth II. Never mind the fact that she’s proven these guys wrong by become Britain’s longest serving monarch—they’re still fabulous!

Soul singer Sonny Night’s “Juicy Lucy” is next, followed by Young Tiger’s 1952 eponymously titled calypso song about her coronation that year after the death of her father, King George VI.

Finally, we’ll end my set this week with “Trade Winds,” another vintage track that I’ve always loved by Jon Mark and Johnny Almond of the Mark-Almond Band. This one’s from a 1976 album in my collection titled, To the Heart.

I hope you enjoy the music as much as I did curating this week’s Rhythm Planet show!





Tom Schnabel