July Music Mix

Banner image: Delgres (Photo © Rémy-Solomon)

This week, we feature mostly new releases and mix in a couple of classics. We begin with a 1993 Elektra release by the short-lived Northern California group Papa’s Culture. “Swim” is a quintessential summer song, clever and always fun to hear. The group’s one and only record isn’t available on Spotify, but we found the song on Youtube. Their former frontman, E. Blake Davis, offers downloads on his website.

Our Spotify playlist starts with a muscular song from the Paris-based roots trio Delgres, whose powerful sound blends French Caribbean, New Orleans, and blues elements. The trio takes its name from Louis Delgrès, a Creole officer in the French army who died in Guadeloupe in 1802 in rebellion against Napoleon’s army, which had been sent to reinstate slavery in the French Caribbean. The song “Mo Jodi” (Die Today) pays tribute to Delgrès’s sacrifice.

Bobby Sanabria, a busy percussionist and music educator based in New York City, infuses the famous Leonard Bernstein/Stephen Sondheim “West Side Story” with plenty of Puerto Rican salsa in his terrific new album West Side Story Reimagined. Jamie Bernstein, daughter of the famous composer whose centennial has been celebrated worldwide, called the new Latin jazz re-work “the most ambitious reimagining of the music I’ve ever heard.” Proceeds from the album will go towards Puerto Rico hurricane relief.

The U.K. label World Circuit just reissued a 2001 album by Cuban bassist Cachaíto, formerly of the Buena Vista Social Club and nephew of the late great inventor of the mambo, Cachao. His bass sound is precise and powerful, and this deluxe reissue package comes with an informative booklet.

Tenor saxophonist Dan Wilensky follows with a nice jazz version of George Gershwin’s “S’Wonderful.” We then hear the inimitable pianist Erroll Garner with an album recorded at the Royal Concertgebouw in Amsterdam on November 7, 1964. Featuring his classic trio (bassist Eddie Calhoun and drummer Kelly Martin), the album includes standards such as “Night and Day,” “Cheek to Cheek,” and “My Funny Valentine.” We hear, however, the Garner original “No More Shadows,” done in typical Garner fashion—with humor and style, clever and bubbly.

We next feature a Brazilian quartet fronted by São Paulo pianist-composer Benjamim Taubkin with a Colombian saxophonist Antonio Arnedo, bassist João Taubkin, and drummer-percussionist Sérgio Reze. I have been a fan of Benjamim Taubkin ever since I heard his work with singer Monica Salmaso on her stunning album Voadeira.

We close with the always-moving adagietto from Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, in a beautiful recording last year from the Minnesota Orchestra, conducted by Osmo Vänskä. If the music sounds familiar, it’s because it has been used in films like Death in Venice, The Elephant Man, and probably many others. I once saw the Béjart Ballet dance to this work, and was so moved that I could hardly contain myself. If you don’t know this work or any of Mahler’s symphonies, this is a great place to start your explorations.

Rhythm Planet Playlist 7/10/18

  1. Papa’s Culture / “Swim” / Papa’s Culture, but… / Elektra
  2. Delgres / “Mo Jodi (Live)” / Mo Jodi / Jazz Village/PIAS
  3. Bobby Sanabria Multiverse Big Band / “Maria” / West Side Story Reimagined / Jazzheads
  4. Orlando Cachaito Lopez / “Conversacion” / Cachaito / World Circuit (CD)/Rhino (Digital)
  5. Dan Wilensky / “’S Wonderful” / Good Music / Polyglot Music
  6. Erroll Garner / “No More Shadows” / Nightconcert / Mack Avenue
  7. Antonio Arnedo, Benjamim Taubkin, João Taubkin, Sérgio Reze / “Festa” / Fronteiras Imaginárias (Colômbia Brasil) / Adventure Music/Núcleo Contemporâneo
  8. Minnesota Orchestra conducted by Osmo Vänskä / “Adagietto” / Mahler: Symphony No. 5 / BIS Records