Rhythm Planet Year End Faves

As we say goodbye to 2014 and usher in the new year, I wanted to feature (and revisit) some old and some new records that I enjoyed a lot in 2014. It's not a top 10 list or anything like that, since I have way too many favorites, but just music that I really think holds its own.

We begin with Hollie Cook, a wonderful singer whose reggae-based sound, great vocals, and excellent production I can never quite get enough of. As the daughter of former Sex Pistols' drummer, Paul Cook, she's got music coursing through her veins!

Cuban singer, the immortal Abelardo Barroso follows with Cha Cha Cha, a beautiful reissue of his 1950s classics, remastered by UK-based World Circuit Records, the same folks who gave us the Buena Vista Social Club. Inside Barroso's album jacket, there's even a sweet little diagram showing 3/2 or 2/3 steps of the Cuban dance, the cha-cha-chá.

Next, I chose the triple threat of Mexican-American singer Lila Downs, Spanish flamenco singer Niña Pastori, and Argentine folk singer Soledad for their version of Cesaria Evora's classic, "Sódade."

A laid back, lyrical dub side follows, featuring British producer Prince Fatty and the UK band Nostalgia 77. We then have Gerardo Frisina's super, new album out on Italy's Schema Records. Chilean tenor sax player, Melissa Aldana, who won the 2013 Thelonious Monk Competition, comes after with a great cut from her Concord Records debut.

Henry Mancini is next, performed by New York City-based jazz band, Harmonie Ensemble, celebrating his classic pieces from the television series, Peter Gunn. I also wanted to play for you Billy Childs' tribute to the late singer-songwriter, Laura Nyro, because I just love the vocals sung here by Becca Stevens.

We then have trumpeter, Rod McGaha, doing "Mama Said," paired with lovely vocals by Nashville singer, Julie Lee. Fellow trumpeter, Brian Lynch, and jazz pianist, Emmet Cohen's "Cambios" makes for more wonderful listening.

Grammy-nominated Jason Vieaux, one of the most talented guitarists to emerge on the scene with his new album, Play, also made it onto our first playlist for 2015. Listen for yourself to his masterful interpretation of Paulo Bellinati's "Jongo : Jongo," inspired by eponymously named dance form of southeast Brazil.

Pianist David Hazeltine remembers the late Cedar Walton (b. 1934–2013) with "Simple Pleasure," from his recently released tribute album. And finally we'll close with favorite tune of mine by the late jazz pianist, Horace Silver, who passed away earlier this year.

Happy New Year and Best Wishes for 2015!!!

Rhythm Planet Playlist: 01/02/15

  1. Hollie Cook / "Win or Lose" / Twice / Mr. Bongo
  2. Abelardo Barroso with Orquesta Sensancíon / "En Guantánamo" / Cha Cha Cha / World Circuit
  3. Lila Downs, Niña Pastori & Soledad / "Sodade" / La Raíz de Mi Tierra / RCA Records
  4. Prince Fatty & Nostalgia 77 / "Quiet Dawn Dub" / In the Kingdom of Dub / Tru Thoughts
  5. Gerardo Frisina / "Eastern Vibrations–Shout it Out" / Movement / Schema Records
  6. Melissa Aldana / "M&M" / Melissa Aldana & Crash Trio / Concord Jazz
  7. Harmonie Ensemble / "Peter Gunn Theme" / Henry Mancini: Music for Peter Gunn / Harmonia Mundi
  8. Billy Childs feat. Becca Stevens / "The Confession" / Map to the Treasure—Reimagining Laura Nyro / Masterworks
  9. Rod McGaha / "Mama Said" / The Black Flower Project / Black Flower Records
  10. Brian Lynch & Emmet Cohen / "Cambios" / Questioned Answer / Hollistic MusicWorks
  11. Jason Vieaux / "Jongo : Jongo" / Play / Azica Records
  12. David Hazeltine / "Simple Pleasure" / I Remember Cedar / Sharp Nine Records
  13. Horace Silver / "Opus de Funk" / Horace Silver Trio / Blue Note Records





Tom Schnabel