What I'm Listening To

This week on Rhythm Planet, we’ll survey ten new releases that I am currently enjoying.

We begin with a Brazilian singer from São Paulo whose debut album is gorgeous. Catina DeLuna’s rendering of Lenine and Egberto Gismonti’s original song, “Lavadeira do Rio and Maracatu” is just sublime.

Our second song features French jazz pianist Baptiste Trotignon and the multi-talented polymath, Melody Gardot, as vocalist, singing in flawless French. (I cheated a bit on this one: it isn’t a new release, but I thought I’d work it into this week’s playlist since she is currently on tour.)

An aboriginal Taiwanese singer backed by Grammy Award-winning Daniel Ho’s trio is next with the Hawaiian song, “Pineapple Mango.” As always the Taipei-based label, Wind Music, has done a beautiful job with their packaging.

Next is the French drummer, Guilhem Flouzat, performing“Lullabye,” with vocals by one of my favorite singers, Becca Stevens. After that, we’ll follow with a crack salsa band based in Canada called the Lula All Stars and a track off their new album, Salsa de la Buena.

One of the best new albums that I’ve received lately is a Riverboat Records collection of new Malian groups, titled, Lost in Mali: Off the Beaten Track: From Bamako to Timbuktu. Check out Mamoutou Dembélé’s song, “Taro Maro,” and you’ll understand what I mean. There is so much amazing Malian music that never leaves Mali, so this new album is very welcome.

Bahian Virgínia Rodrigues comes next with “Babalaô / Amor de Escravo,” from a Brazil-only CD that miraculously made its way north to my doorstep. Happily!

We also hear a killer torch ballad from Melody Gardot afterwards. “If Ever I Recall Your Face” reminds me of Billie Holiday’s version of “Don’t Explain.” Talk about great production, and the string orchestrations are absolutely delicious! The new album’s title, Currency of Man, is actually a play on words: “Current Sea of Man” as a reflection on the river of life, and where we are on it.

Lastly, we’ll end this week’s program with two jazz classics, written by Bud Powell and Thelonious Monk, featuring guitarist Gilad Hekselman and pianist Romain Collin.

Hope you enjoy my personal treasure trove of new music!





Tom Schnabel