This week on Rhythm Planet, I’ve got ten superb new albums to share with you.
We begin with a lovely, heartfelt version of the John Lennon classic, “Imagine,” sung by Filipina-American jazz-world vocalist, Charmaine Clamor. It’s a track from her new album of songs that were inspired by a Filipino festival she once attended that she told me “brought out the best in people.” Her pianist, Laurence Hobgood, is one of my favorite artists and adds his characteristic elegance to this gorgeous rendition.
Singer Charenée Wade follows with a similarly inspiring song off her new album of songs made famous—or inspired—by Gil Scott-Heron and Brian Jackson. We’ll listen to “A Toast to the People.”
The dreamy sound of Willis Earl Beal comes next from his fifth album, Nocturnes, which will be available in stores later this month. In an interview with Pitchfork, he said, “All I ever wanted was to make lullabies…I wanted to create this persona that could say everything perfectly with very little. The record, to me, is a perfect record. I listen to that thing a lot, and it helps me.” Well said.
Next up, I’ve got a crazy, fun album for you by percussive dancer and world music expert Max Pollak, which fuses very Afro-Cuban rumba rhythms with tap and flamenco dancing. It’s appropriately titled, “Rumbatap.” The percussionist on this track is the renowned New York City-based musician and educator, Bobby Sanabria.
We continue on our groove with Totó La Momposina, a giant of Afro-Colombian music. Brian Eno’s Real World label has just released Tambolero, her beautifully hardbound-packaged new album, complete with booklet. Every track on this CD is magnificent, which made it difficult to select just one track to feature on today’s show. You'll just have to listen to the whole thing.
The Gabriel Alegria Afro-Peruvian Sextet performs their own very unusual Afro-Peruvian version of Ornette Coleman’s most famous song, “Lonely Woman.” If you like what you hear and happen to live in New York, you’re in luck because they’re on right tour now. You can find dates and locations here.
L.A.’s own Astral 22 follows with a cool Brazilian-inspired summer track called “Por do Soul.” Then we bring things down a notch with composer Max Richter and an excerpt from his new Deutsche Grammophon album, From Sleep. It’s music for voice, cello, and various electronics. Unlike other sleep-themed albums, Richter’s style is minimal, spare, and decidedly not new age. It’s cerebral, like a lot of his other work.
Finally, we conclude this week’s Rhythm Planet show with the another gorgeous song by the supremely talented singer, Melody Gardot, followed by our very last track, which comes to us from saxophonist Nicole Johänntgen.
So many great new releases and, as always, it’s my pleasure as always to share them.