This week on Rhythm Planet, we chase away June gloom with another fine sampling of musical eclecticism, together with some spectacular jazz tracks.
But first up, it’s a jaunty Latin party record that’s got a great Chilean cumbia beat by the band, Chico Trujillo, who incorporate ska, reggae, and rock into their fun grooves. Next, I bring you the strange and wonderful sounds of Mbongwana Star, a new psychedelic grunge band from Kinshasa, Congo, who use hubcaps, detritus, and just about anything they feel like to get their thick, sibilant sound.
Then it’s a joyful cut from Agula, a Swiss-Mongolian collective that I am in love with and one of my favorites off their album, called “Happy May.” Listen and you’ll hear the erhu and other Mongolian-Chinese elements that have been exquisitely woven into the overall composition. It’s a very unusual but very cool fusion album. And I mean “fusion” in its best sense! World music fans, this is one album you should definitely add to your collection.
A great East Coast tenor saxophone player comes next. Jerry Bergonzi has been on the scene for a long time, and he consistently plays great solos. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about bassist, Gary Peacock, who is mostly associated with the Keith Jarrett Standards Trio, meaning he’s on a short leash due to their frequent world tours. Luckily for us, he managed to break away and recently released his own gorgeous album, titled, Now This, with two of the best: Marc Copland (piano) and Joey Baron (drums). The new album harkens back to Peacock’s early work with Paul Bley and others on the New York and LA avant garde scenes of the early 1960s
Two solo performances follow: Jasmine Choi is a Korean-born, Juilliard and Curtis trained flutist, currently based in Austria. Here, she plays a lovely cut from her solo The Telemann Files album. I admit that I’m a huge fan of solo performances. This recording really captures the essence of her gold, handmade flute from which the notes just seem to emanate so beautifully. So often, we forget that performing classical music requires a great deal of physical exertion, but you can actually hear Choi breathing between phrases.
Next up is a live Keith Jarrett solo piano album, recorded across various cities during his world tour last year. This particular recording comes from a performance he gave in Tokyo. Jarrett cut his teeth with the venerable sufi seeker, Charles Lloyd, who always employs great pianists. This time, Gerald Clayton accompanies Charles on “Lark” during the Jazztopad Festival in Wroclaw, Poland. Charles has just returned to Blue Note Records after decades with ECM.
Our final cut today, titled, “Home,” comes from the new album, The Thompson Fields, by the Maria Schneider Orchestra. Her use of shading in her compositions, together with texture and color, were learned from her guru, Gil Evans. Featured on this track is Rich Perry, a marvelous tenor saxophone player.
I love these records and hope you enjoy them as well. Till next week!
Rhythm Planet Playlist for 06/12/15
- Chico Trujillo / “Abajo Del Bote” / Reina de Todas las Fiestas / Barbes
- Mbongwana Star / “Suzanna” / From Kinshasa / World Circuit
- Agula / “Happy May” / Agula: A Swiss-Mongolian Music Exchange Project / Musiques Suisse
- Jerry Bergonzi / “Awake” / Rigamaroll / Savant
- Gary Peacock Trio / “This” / Now This / ECM Records
- Jasmine Choi / Fantasy No. 10 in F-Sharp minor, TWV 40:11 / The Telemann Files / Austrian Gramophone
- Keith Jarrett / “Pt. V” (Live at Kioi Hall, Tokyo/2014) / Creation / ECM Records
- Charles Lloyd / “Lark” / Wild Man Dance / Blue Note
- Maria Schneider Orchestra / “Home” / The Thompson Fields / Artistshare