Tom's Friday Groove

So many new releases, so little time, as they say…

We begin this week’s Rhythm Planet show with the fabulous Malian band, Les Ambassadeurs (The Ambassadors), which came together at a Bamako rail station. With their roots in traditional griot music, they blended elements of blues, jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, making them the voice of West African independence in their years from 1970–1985. Les Ambassadeurs gave Salif KeitaMory Kanté and others a big push at the beginning of their musical careers. The band recently reunited in concert to the delight of their fans around the world. This four-track import Rebirth EP is said to be a teaser for a brand new album due out next year—I can’t wait! Listen to this classic Salif Keita cut, “Seydou.” It’s really is Malian music at its greatest.

Next up are three guys based in San Francisco, who call themselves Bolo. Playing several different instruments a piece—bansuri, ney flutes, oud, bass, kamale ngoni, kalimba—in their improvisational style, these guys sure know how to craft a fantastic ‘global groove.’

After that, we break with a special jazz cut, titled,“Compassion” by trumpet player Jonathan Powell performing with his band, nu Sangha. It’s a piece dedicated (and maybe inspired by) the Dalai Lama.

Last week, I was reorganizing the overflow of CDs in my music library, when I happened upon this album, Hadoukly Yours, buried in an envelope—lucky me! So I thought I’d play you guys one of the Hadouk Quartet’s tracks: “Bora Bollo.”

Next up is a jazz treat: Miles Davis at Newport (1955–1975): The Bootleg Series, Vol. 4, which features two cuts from the 1955 and 1958 Newport Jazz Festival. We’ll listen to the first cut, Thelonious Monk’s Round Midnight,” which earned Miles his contract with producer George Avakian at Columbia Records. Then a spoken word intro by the unsung hero Willis Conover, who introduced millions of people to American jazz with his Voice of America Jazz Hour program during the Cold War. He’ll take us into Miles and an all-star lineup performing Charlie Parker’s bebop favorite, “Ah-Leu-Cha.”

We wrap this week’s Rhythm Planet show with two fresh new Brazilian albums: the first from veteran pianist Antonio Adolfo; the second is Marcos Valle’s “Escape,” released by U.K. record label, Far Out on the 2-CD set Brazilika 20th Year Anniversary.

Hope you enjoy the music!





Tom Schnabel