This week Rhythm Planet checks out new releases from England, Italy, right here in Los Angeles, and more. We start the show with choral director Paul Hillier working with a Danish choral group, Ars Nova Copenhagen, on a piece by Howard Skempton called “Rise Up My Love.” Choral pieces like this really move me.
Next, veteran English singer June Tabor (performing as part of the group Quercus) sings an old Irish ballad, “Once I Loved You Dear.” Tabor has been on the British jazz and folk-rock scene for a long time, and her deep, plaintive voice just gets better and better.
Manchester-U.K. jazz trumpet player, composer, arranger and DJ Matthew Halsall follows for our third track. He’s got a huge fanbase, and has worked with Dwight Trible and others to make what has been called “spiritual jazz” à la Kamasi Washington, Pharoah Sanders, and Doug and Jean Carn. The harp work on this album will remind some of the late Alice Coltrane as well. I heard this new album on FIP Paris Radio and bought it right away.
L.A.’s best Ozomatli is out with a new album and a new sound as well, based on Mexican boleros mixed with the bass and drum wizardry of Sly and Robbie, who give the songs a reggae twist. It’s bound to be the band’s most popular record yet. The song I picked is an East L.A. classic—“Land of a 1000 Dances.”
We wrap it up with two songs from excellent new Italian pop LPs from Putumayo. As always, the albums feature the label’s signature fun cover artwork. The second song is by Brazilian guitar superstar Toquinho, famous for his work with Vinicius de Moraes and others. Toquinho has Italian roots and grew up with Italian music, so it isn’t much of a stretch for him to perform Italian pop songs.
Rhythm Planet Playlist for 6/9/17
- Paul Hillier & Ars Nova Copenhagen / “Rise Up My Love (By Howard Skempton)” / First Drop / Cantaloupe
- June Tabor/Quercus / “Once I Loved You Dear” / Nightfall / ECM
- Matthew Halsall & The Gondwana Orchestra / “Badder Weather” / Into Forever / Gondwana
- Ozomatli / “Land of A 1000 Dances” / Non-Stop Mexica to Jamaica / Cleopatra
- Renzo Arbore e Gil Arborigeni / “Ba…Ba…Baciami Piccina” / Vintage Italia / Putumayo
- Toquinho / “Acquarello” / Italian Playground / Putumayo