November Concert Picks from Rhythm Planet

Banner image: Buika (Photo by Manuel Velez)

Saturday, November 3 | Kenny Barron Quintet | Segerstrom Center for the Arts (Costa Mesa)

At the age of 75, Kenny Barron is, quite simply, one of the finest jazz pianists performing today. He’s played with the greats going back to his high school years, in a career spanning 50 years: Dizzy Gillespie, James Moody, Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, and Milt Jackson, to name just a few. Barron has also recorded more than 40 albums as a leader. For this upcoming concert, he plays with an outstanding crew called the Concentric Circles Quintet, named after their latest album, Concentric Circles—saxophonist Dayna Stephens, formidable trumpet player Mike Rodriguez, bassist Kiyoshi Kitagawa, and drummer Johnathan Blake. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Kenny Barron performs “Autumn Leaves”:

Sunday, November 4 | Nsimbi | Fowler Museum at UCLA (Westwood)

The American-Ugandan duo Nsimbi performs as part of the Arts of Africa Festival at the Fowler Museum at UCLA. A partnership between Ugandan hip-hop artist GNL Zamba and American vocalist Miriam Tamar, Nsimbi’s music blends the traditional and modern, using East African instruments and sounds in contemporary ways. The festival is free; click HERE for more information.

Friday, November 9 | Terri Lyne Carrington | Center for the Art of Performance, UCLA (Westwood)

Jazz drummer and composer Terri Lyne Carrington and an all-star ensemble present a special concert in tribute to Joni Mitchell, Tina Turner, and Nancy Wilson. The performance will feature two wonderful singers whom I’ve always loved—Lizz Wright, with her soulful, velvety voice, plus newcomer Jazzmeia Horn, winner of both the Thelonious Monk Institute Competition and the Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal award. This is a winning combo if there ever was one. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Terri Lyne Carrington (Photo by Tracy Love)

Saturday, November 10 | Nobuntu | The Broad Stage (Santa Monica)

The female acapella vocal group Nobuntu hails from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, and performs a repertoire ranging from traditional African songs to jazz and gospel. Minimal percussion instruments such as the mbira thumb piano accompany their voices. The group has received standing ovations for their performances throughout Europe and Africa. I’m not aware of many Zimbabwean music troupes touring these days, and this is a rare opportunity to hear an outstanding one. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

The group’s official video for “Inganekwane” features them singing with the Zimbabwean landscape as a backdrop:

Friday, November 16 | Maria de Barros – Music of Cabo Verde: A Tribute to Cesária Évora | The Village Studios (West L.A.)

I met Maria de Barros when I interviewed the late “barefoot diva” Cesária Évora on my former weekend show Café LA. De Barros considers Évora as her godmother. They taught me the beauty of what is known in Cape Verde as morabeza, an African equivalent of the Hawaiian concept of aloha. Both are redolent of island breezes and warm, beautiful seas. De Barros was born in Dakar, Senegal and moved to Mauretania as a child. In her early teens, her family immigrated to Providence, Rhode Island, where many Portuguese and Cape Verdeans lived. Her parents were Cape Verdeans, and she has always embraced the soulful mornas and upbeat coladeiras that Cesária Évora put on the world map and that make Cape Verdean music so special. De Barros and her band will offer a unique glimpse of the joyful music of Cape Verde in this intimate studio session. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Maria de Barros (Photo courtesy of the artist)

Saturday, November 17 | Buika | Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State L.A. (East L.A.)

The Spanish singer Concha Buika, aka Buika, grew up in flamenco Gitano culture. Her parents moved to Spain from Equatorial Guinea in West Africa as political exiles just a few years before Buika was born. A charismatic performer, Buika has a fabulous rajo, the vocal rasp that gives flamenco singers their intense delivery. As a result, her sound has drawn comparisons with the late, iconic Camarón de la Isla. I had a hard time finding the right music clip, so I just decided to feature “Mi Nina Lola,” the first Buika song that seduced me. There’s an unusual twist: a consoling father singing of his love for his daughter when her mother has left for good. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

Sunday, November 18 | Raga & Rhythm: Pandit Ronu Majumdar (Bansuri) and Pandit Abhijit Banerjee (Tabla) | Chinmaya Rameshwaram (Tustin)

The special resonant sound of the Indian bamboo flute, called the bansuri, has a unique beauty that could make Western silver flutists like James Galway or Jean-Pierre Rampal jealous.  Along with Hariprasad Chaurasia, Pandit Ronu Majumdar is the greatest purveyor of this magical, enchanting sound. Proceeds from this event will go towards helping visually challenged and under privileged music students. Click HERE for tickets and more information.

On this track, the great bansuri player performs with Ry Cooder, from a Water Lily Acoustics album called Hollow Bamboo that I’ve always loved: