People talk about the atomization of albums into mp3′s and singles, but I am continually amazed by how many good releases are pouring into my listening room. Perhaps with digital technology artists can produce albums for less costs, less hassles with major label demands, and so on. When I was working at A&M Records years ago, it was not unusual to see record budgets of $250-$350,000.00–for just one recording. Those days are long gone, the labels have come and gone or have consolidated into large empires, but musicians are still finding ways to get their music out. For that I am very grateful.

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Rhythm Planet Playlist: 9/27/13

  1. David Hazeltine / Claire De LuneImpromptu / Chesky Records
  2. Laila Biali / Woodstock / Live In Concert / Self
  3. Tierney Sutton / Court And Spark / After Blue / BFM Jazz
  4. Baloji & L’Orchestre De La Katuba Feat. Kuku / Buy Africa / (Red) Hot + Fela / Knitting Factory
  5. Rokia Traore / Tuit Tuit / Beautiful Africa / Nonesuch
  6. Mamadou Kelly / Donso Foly / Adibar / Clermont
  7. Africando / Doundari / Viva Africando / Stern’s
  8. El Gusto Orchestra of Algiers / Kidjet Daltek / El Gusto / Unknown
  9. Diego Urcola / Alfronsina Y El Mar / Mates / Sunnyside
  10. London Grammar / Hey Now / If You Want / Columbia
  11. Pink Martini & Saori Yuka / Puff The Magic Dragon / 1969 / EMI Japan

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On this week’s recorded program we hear a really good trio album by pianist David Hazeltine, who takes standards from the classical music repertoire and puts a very hip jazz spin on them.

Laila Biali, a Canadian-based singer renders a Joni Mitchell song with a powerful twist. Laila has her LA debut concert tonight, Friday 9/27, at the Theatre Raymond Kabbaz, part of Le Lycée Français de Los Angeles in West LA.

Veteran jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton follows up with another Joni Mitchell classic from the 1970s, “Court and Spark”.  Her new cd covers a number of Mitchell classics.  Nice playing from pianist Larry Goldings.

After that we get a quartet of hot new African releases.

First the (Red) Hot + Fela tribute to the late Nigerian superstar (who I interviewed in 1986 and you can find that historic conversation by clicking here). The Wall Street Journal also had a nice write up about the (Red) Hot + Fela tribute project–click to read more.

After that a couple of great Malian artists, Rokia Traore and Mamadou Kelly lay down that cool Malian modal groove.

Then we have the impossibly delightful sabor of the Puerto Rican-Senegalese Afro-Latin Africando with a brand new release.

Finally, El Gusto Orchestra of Algiers, a Buena Vista Social Club-type release from musicians going back to jam sessions in the Casbah of Algiers in the 1950s, before the Algerian war of independence separated them. This is a truly amazing reunion of musicians into the 20-piece band they originally were a part of over 50 years ago. Their album was sold at their Grand Performances show this past summer, for me the best show of the entire summer season. You can get it on MP3 from Amazon.

We wrap it up with Argentine trumpeter Diego Urcola with a classic Argentine song about a writer who committed suicide and inspired composer Ariel Ramirez. Ramirez is best known for his beautiful choral work Misa Criolla and wrote this timeless song, made famous by Mercedes Sosa’s magnificent version from 1963.

London Grammar is a trio of young UK artists with an auspicious debut.  I love the sound of the female vocalist–I only have the advance copy which unfortunately doesn’t list her name.

Popular ensemble Pink Martini with Japanese singer Saori Yuka finish the playlist reprising the 50′s pop hit  Puff The Magic Dragon.

I hope you enjoy the variety of music here. I’ve chosen my favorite cuts from these eleven new releases, and if you like these tracks I encourage you to go out and buy the albums at a local record store or if you don’t have a record store–we’re lucky to have Amoeba Music in LA–then order them online.

I want to say thank you to all of you who joined the new KCRW Rhythm Planet club. It’s very heartening for me to see the turnout on the recently concluded Fall KCRW Fundraiser, and I promise to keep the music coming!

Finally, we have a second Up Close! event tomorrow night with the great Brazilian artist Dori Caymmi at the New Roads School in Santa Monica. If you go please come up and say, “Hello!”

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