Songs of Summer

With July nearly halfway through, and summer already half over, I find myself wishing that I could somehow prolong each passing day, in hopes of staving off the cooler months. I guess I’m just a Southern Californian at heart. On that note, I figured it was high time that I play some summer music here on Rhythm Planet, so this week, I present to you a playlist of appropriately themed tunes that always set the mood for me.

Let’s begin with a Quincy Jones 1973 track, titled, “Summer in the City,” a bouncy, feel-good song that has become a classic. Then, French group Fatal Mambo covers Mungo Jerry’s 1970 hit, “In the Summertime,” only this version is in French and infused with a fun Latin clavé rhythm throughout.

Of course, no summer playlist would be complete without at least one song by The Beach Boys, so I thought we’d go with “All Summer Long.” Next, we’ve all heard George Gershwin’s ever-famous “Summertime,” but I thought I’d surprise you guys with two versions of his original that you probably haven’t heard yet: First up, it’s a version by Benin-born, New York-based singer, Angélique Kidjo, sung both in English and the Fon dialect of the African Gbe language. Miles Davis follows with his classic version of “Summertime” from Porgy and Bess, one of my favorite collaborations he did with Gil Evans.

Another synonymous, well-known perennial classic is, of course, the “Summer” movement of Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, which you’ve doubtlessly heard hundreds of times. To mix things up, I thought I’d feature the Chinese Baroque Players doing their own interpretation, but with pipas and erhus, which are Chinese traditional stringed instruments.

Then we have Swiss composer Arthur Honegger’s beautiful “Pastorale d’Été” (Summer Pastoral), which he composed in 1920, while on summer holiday in the Swiss Alps.

Some of you may remember Percy Faith’s 1960 theme song from the 1959 romantic drama film, A Summer Place, which was the first original motion picture soundtrack to win a Grammy Award. It topped Billboard Magazine’s Top 100 charts when it was first released.

And lastly, I end this week’s set with a beautiful song by the late American expat jazz saxophonist, Sahib Shihab. Here’s “Lillemor” from his 1964 album, Summer Dawn.

That’s all we have time for on this week’s Rhythm Planet show, but feel free to list your favorite summer tunes below or on our Facebook page. Maybe some of these will even make it onto your summer playlist!





Tom Schnabel