We begin this week’s show with the South Carolina group Ranky Tanky, who celebrate the Gullah culture that derives from African slaves in the islands off the coast of Southeastern U.S., like the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida. I love the lead singer and the soulful vocal harmonies. All the songs on their eponymous new release are traditional, which makes it even better in my opinion. I like the album so much that we start with two cuts from it. I especially love “Been in the Storm,” with vocals by Quiana Parler.
Composer and musician Rule Beasley taught jazz at Santa Monica College for decades (for those who might not know, KCRW is located on the SMC campus). His son John Beasley has carried the torch to the next level with his big modern jazz band MONK’estra that explores and reimagines the music of Thelonius Monk. I loved their first album, and volume 2 is just out. Thelonious “Sphere” would be proud of the new album, from which we hear the track “I Mean You.”
Pianist Harold Mabern played on Lee Morgan’s classic Blue Note albums, and he remains busy these days recording and touring. He comes to town this weekend for a few shows at Catalina Jazz Club, and its a rare chance to catch this jazz master. We hear a songbook classic, “If There is Someone Lovelier Than You,” from his latest release.
We feature a few tropical Latin songs in the second half of the show, beginning with Cuba’s Septeto Santiaguero, who will perform a big (free) show at Grand Performances tonight, Friday, August 11. Next we hear from Colombia’s La Mambanegra, a group that’s making some of the coolest Latin/cumbia/funk music in the tropical Latin arena today.
We wrap it up by revisiting two great bands from the mambo heyday at New York’s Palladium night club—Puerto Rico’s La Playa Sextet followed by some great charanga (flute & violin music) from Johnny Pacheco, José Fajardo, Charlie Palmieri and Tito Puente.
Ever wondered what a hot night at New York’s Palladium nightclub, the “Mecca of Mambo,” looked like? Watch this dance contest footage shot at the club with the great Puerto Rican singer Tito Rodriguez. Check out the moves, the fashion, and of course the amazing music.
Southern Gullah culture, great new jazz, and tropical music from Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Colombia. This is the musical mashup on today’s show. Hope you like the mix.
Rhythm Planet Playlist for 8/11/17
- Ranky Tanky / “That’s Alright” /Ranky Tanky/ Rankytanky.Com
- Ranky Tanky / “Been in the Storm” / Ranky Tanky / Rankytanky.Com
- John Beasley / “I Mean You” / John Beasley Presents MONK’estra Vol. 2 / Mack Avenue Records
- Harold Mabern / “If There Is Someone Lovelier Than You” / To Love and Be Loved / Smoke Sessions Records
- Septeto Santiaguero / “Lágrimas Negras” / Raiz / Egrem
- La Mambanegra / “El Sabor De La Guayaba” / La Galeria / Afropicks
- La Playa Sextet / “Picalo Gallo” / Si, Si, La Playa / West Side Latino
- Various Artists / “Moliendo Cafe” / Vol. 1-Charanga at the Palladium / Protel / Umgd