Tom's Weekend World Groove

This week on Rhythm Planet, I’ve culled and curated exciting new releases from around the world expressly for your weekend listening enjoyment.

We start with a great new album by Los Angeles-based Mamak Khadem. From beginning to end, The Road is an incredible musical journey to her homeland of Iran and the distant lands of her travels, including Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Greece, and Andalusian Spain. It’s literally a musical travelogue and her best album yet, one that will even further expand her sizable coterie of followers.

Next, soul singer Lizz Wright teams up with jazz vocalist Gregory Porter for a wonderful ballad, titled, “Right Where You Are” from her new album, Freedom and Surrender. I’ve always been a big fan of Lizz, and Gregory Porter is an artist whom I’ve found myself enjoying more and more. He blew the Hollywood Bowl audience away when he performed there last year.

Daúde is a Brazilian singer that I’ve been following ever since her U.S. debut on Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records. Here she delivers her version of “Barco Negro,” a song popularized by fado great Amália Rodrigues, based on “Mãe Preta” (Black Mother), a 1954 song that was actually banned in Portugal for some time. You can read more about the song’s colorful history here.

We’ll continue in the Lusophone style with Cape Verde’s Lura. She has a wonderful album coming out next month, Herança, on the Lusafrica label, the same one that launched Cesaria Evora’s career and those many other fine Cape Verdean artists. I thought we’d listen to her song, “Goré.” Herança is available now for pre-order, so be sure to get your copy.

I want to spotlight two ECM Records talents next: First up, we have “Sytë” by the Albanian-born, Switzerland-based jazz singer and composer, Elina Duni, off her new album, Dallendyshë. Then it’s multi-instrumentalist Stephan Micus, who plays a dozen or so instruments on “The Feast” and overdubs all of them in a wonderful alchemical blend that you’ll hear. It’s magic!

Trumpeter and conguero Jerry Gonzalez comes next, with his new rendition of the Tito Rodríguez classic, “Avísale a Mi Contrarío,” (Advice to My Rival), a song that I’ve been told was intended for the other Tito—Tito Puente, in response to the two mambo kings’ rival status. He is joined by flamenco superstar, Diego El Cigala.

Terakaft comes next, serving up their fabulous Tuareg modal groove from Northern Mali, which is located at the edge of the Sahara. Alone, their new album was produced by Brit Justin Adams, who worked previously with desert blues band Tinariwen. He knows this music well and has done a fabulous job producing Alone.

Finally, we’ll round out this week’s Rhythm Planet set with two new jazz albums, starting with one  bythe extraordinary tenor sax player, Eric Alexander, who features guitarist Pat Martino as guest. We’ll close out on a lively note with a rousing version of Rose Royce’s disco classic, “Car Wash,” this time by the Christian McBride Trio live at the Village Vanguard.

Hope you enjoy these ten new sides. Let me know which ones are your favorites!





Tom Schnabel