Archive for February, 2010

going galactic

February 28, 2010

After the recent review here: you knew this was coming!

Featuring the new Galactic release Ya-Ka-May this week on World of Music, with a lot of other new stuff we haven’t gotten to yet including the latest from Burlington’s gypsy jazzers Swing Noire; last year’s collaboration between Concha Buika and Chucho Valdez, El Ultimo Trogo; and more retro sounds from the isthmus with the new Soundway collection, Panama 3.

World of Music is a loosely organized, thinly disguised slapdash of blues, poetry, jazz, and world music every Monday from 3-5pm ET on the Radiator.  Online, or at 105.9FM if you’re listening in Burlington, VT.

out and about town today

February 28, 2010

Interesting day: Mardi Gras parade (in Lent: yes, we know that – a source of perpetual bewilderment every year it happens), Fireouse art gallery visitation, and evening recital of Spanish, French, Cuban and Argentinian music with pianist Annemieke Spoelstra. Excellent. Somehow it all fit together.

galactic – grooves that cut glass

February 27, 2010

For the most part I still get music the old fashioned way:  order a CD and wait a couple of days for it to show up. I like the suspense. I also like being able to check out the packaging and flip through the liner notes while listening. (All the more rewarding, in this case, where the artwork is a mesmerizing confusion of images that will stand up to many revisitations!) So earlier this week when Galactic’s new album Ya-Ka-May showed up, I waited until the end of the day and listened to it on the drive home. Before I knew it, I was speeding. Kind of…a lot.

The reason I picked it up in the first place is the group’s drummer, Stanton Moore. I got turned on to him years ago and I get just about everything he puts out. With a tight high-hat and kicking bass back beat he  just might be the funkiest kit out there. It’s just the sound you want with New Orleans-flavored grooves. Which brings me to the real heart and soul of this recording: post-Katrina N’awlins. Blues, jazz, dixie, Creole, Cajun, Zydeco, hip-hop, soul, boogie-woogie, stride…where else in the world can claim so many native styles of music? Part of the answer here is that N’awlins has always acknowledged its special place as a confluence (geographical and musical), aggregating styles and influences and reshaping them into something wholly fresh. In the same way the mighty river itself accumulates various parts of the lands it passes through, before depositing them all at the delta – Ya-Ka-May encompasses the many unique sounds and styles of the Crescent City and delivers them anew in a wild, irresistable mix. A few of my fave tracks are Katey vs. Nobby, Do It Again, and Heart of Steel.

Ya-Ka-May is a party album, with unrelenting bounce beats and more guest vocalists (Allen Toussaint, John Boutté, Irma Thomas, Cheeky Blakk, Bo Dollis) than any previous Galactic project. Add to that gumbo harmonicas, cellos, accordions, and a generous overlay of samples from sources as diverse as traditional Hungarian and African music. It’s intense, it’s hardcore, and it’s a wholesale celebration of the continuing evolution of music from the special city that is New Orleans. Here’s a bit more on the album’s background:

(PS – what, no Parental Advisory sticker here? Um, OK…)

playlist #103 (2/22/2010)-black history month

February 22, 2010
World of Music
Pgm #103 – Black History month with the sounds of Africa, change, and revolution
Catch the show on Mondays 3-5pm EDT – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
Chuck Bernstein: Kindred Spirits / Delta Berimbau Blues / CMB Records 102844 – (USA)
Nikki Giovanni: A Greater Love of God and Country / In Philadelphia / Collectables 6508 – (USA)
Mahalia Jackson: I’m Going to Wait Until My Change Comes / Amazing Grace / MCA 20489 – (USA)
Keb Mo’: America The Beautiful / Yes We Can / Hidden Beach Recordings 70 – (USA)
Guelel Kumba featuring John Sinclair: Njulli (Fulani Journey) / Afrissippi: Fulani Journey / Knock Down South 11 – (SENEGAL / USA)
Gil Scott-Heron: Me & The Devil / I’m New Here / XL Recordings 471 – (USA) *NEW*
Andy Palacio & the Garifuna Collective: Amuñegü (In Times to Come) / Wátina / Cumbancha 3 – (BELIZE)
Chabuca Granda: Callecita Encendida / Lo Mejor de Chabuca Granda / CD-DIS 26040 – (PERU)
Chiwoniso: Rebel Woman / Rebel Woman / Cumbancha 8 – (ZIMBABWE)
Gil Scott-Heron: New York is Killing Me / I’m New Here / XL Recordings 471 – (USA) *NEW*
Les Amazones de Guinée: Demembalou / Wamato / Sterns Music 1106 – (GUINEA)
Perú Negro: Taita Guaranguito / Jolgorio / Times Square Records 9035 – (PERU)
Black Uhuru: Freedom Fighter / Now / Mesa Bluemoon Recordings 79021 – (JAMAICA)
Nina Simone: Revolution (Parts 1 & 2) / Forever Young, Gifted and Black / RCA 74413 – (USA)
Nas: America / Nas / Def Jam 115050 – (USA)
Marvin Gaye: Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) / What’s Going On / Motown 3746353392 – (USA)
Mahotella Queens: Masibambaneni / Mahotella Queens / Label Bleu 2571 – (SOUTH AFRICA)
Madagascar Slim: Take Me Home / Good Life Good Living / MS 901 – (MADAGASCAR)
Novalima: Chinchiví / Afro / Mr. Bongo Classic Recording 41 – (PERU)
Sly & The Family Stone: Poet / There’s A Riot Goin’ On / Epic Legacy 82876759112 – (USA)
Ram: Marassa Elu / The Rough Guide to the Music of Haiti / Rough Guide 1067 – (HAITI)
Rokia Traoré: Sara / Bowmboï / Nonesuch 79852 – (MALI) *Coming to the Flynn Main Stage on 4/18*
Ali Farka Toure: Okatagouna / Ali Farka Toure / SonoDisc 8448 – (MALI)
Langston Hughes: The Weary Blues / The Voice of Langston Hughes / Smithsonian Folkways 47001 – (USA)
Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars: Tamagbondorsu (The Rich Mock the Poor) / Rise & Shine / Cumbancha 18 – (SIERRA LEONE) *NEW – coming out on March 23rd *
Marva Wright: Change is Gonna Come / After the Levees Broke / AIM 5015 – (N’AWLINS)
Omara Portuondo featuring Jorge Drexler: Gracias / Gracias / World Village 479021 – (CUBA)

i’m new here

February 21, 2010

For the last show of February we’re celebrating Black History Month.

This week World of Music puts the new Gil Scott-Heron release I’m New Here front and center, along with reflective poetry by Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, and the big voice of Mahalia Jackson. We’ll also hear from the wide African diaspora including Afro-Peruvian and Afro-Cuban sounds, and recordings from Central America, America, and Africa itself.

World of Music is a far-flung culture of blues, poetry, jazz, and world music every Monday from 3-5pm ET on the Radiator.  Online, or at 105.9FM if you’re listening in Burlington, VT.

lux et dies

February 20, 2010

This moment of utter musical bliss brought to you by one of today’s finest a cappella vocal ensembles, Stile Antico…

from the top

February 19, 2010

Christopher O'Riley

This time last week I was in the Tarrant Gallery, enjoying a glass of merlot with a few listeners and the producers of NPR’s From the Top.

The show’s host, Christopher O’Riley, had also come for the reception.

There was a moment over kalamata olives and herbed hummus when we realized we shared admiration of the latest Bad Plus recording. (Wendy Lewis, wow – what a great addition to the group. And the piano riffs on Comfortably Numb – Ethan’s a master!)

That’s the thing about Christopher, and in fact, the whole From the Top approach to music. Accessible, conversational, interesting, and – hip. Quite so. No wonder that the show attracts top young talent from all over the States. If you’ve seen it, you know the premise: each week the program visits a new locale and brings to light some of the emerging classical musicians from that area.

Young audience members before the show

Last week the locale was Burlington’s Flynn Center. Before the night was over we had heard from an up-and-coming soprano, a bassoon quartet, an 11-year old cellist, a highschool-aged pianist, and – the entire 93-piece Vermont Youth Orchestra, featuring percussionist Nick Bonaccio with his own improvised knock-down cadenza in the new Schwantner Concerto for Percussion. Hard to tell if he had more fun actually playing the piece, or introducing it by gleefully describing all of the different kinds of drums the piece calls for (bass drum, conga, snares,…) You can decide for yourself when you hear it.*

Besides the weekly spotlight, From the Top also partners with the New England Conservatory and Jack Kent Cooke Foundation to provide 25 scholarships annually to encourage young musicians in their careers. Good stuff all the way around.

*(The Burlington program will air Sunday, May 16th at 5pm ET on VPR Classical.)

playlist #102 (2/15/2010)-mardi gras

February 15, 2010
World of Music
Pgm #102 – Mardi Gras time, we’re serving up a down South gumbo of zydeco, cajun, dixie, mambo, and more…
Listen to the show on Mondays 3-5pm EDT  – at 105.9FM in Burlington, VT or online at The Radiator
Nas with Youssou N’Dour & Neneh Cherry: Wake Up (It’s Africa Calling) / Open Remix / (download) – (USA / SENEGAL)
James & Troy Andrews: Bourbon Street Parade / New Orleans Brass / Putumayo 270 – (N’AWLINS)
Louis Armstrong: Basin Street Blues / Blueberry Hill / Milan 35617 – (N’AWLINS)
Jim Cullum Jazz Band: Down By The Riverside / Deep River: The Spirit of Gospel Music in Jazz / Riverwalk Jazz 8 – (SAN ANTONIO, TX)
Kermit Ruffins: Drop Me Off In New Orleans / Every Day Is A Holiday / Basin Street Records 703 – (N’AWLINS)
South Froggies: Basin Street Blues remix 07 / Nu Jazz Factory / Blue Flame 39850942 – (GERMANY)
Chris “Candyman” Ardoin: Good Good / Alter Ego / NuStep4Lyfe 87066 – (N’AWLINS)
Cedric Watson: La Vielle Chanson de Mardi Gras / Cedric Watson /Valcour Records 4 – (N’AWLINS)
Ramsey McLean & The Survivors with Charmaine Neville: Drink Jax Beer / City of Dreams / Rounder 11661-2196 – (N’AWLINS)
The Meters: Jambalaya / Good Old Funky Music / Rounder 2104 – (N’AWLINS)
Rick Trolsen: The Original Dixieland One Step / Sunrise on Bourbon Street / Lort Records 403 – (N’AWLINS)
Ingrid Lucia & The Flying Neutrinos: Some of These Days / Hotel Child / Ao! Records 33 – (N’AWLINS)
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band: My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now / Ears To The Wall / Mammoth Records 142 – (N’AWLINS)
Professor Longhair: Mardi Gras in New Orleans / New Orleans Piano / Atlantic Jazz 7225 – (N’AWLINS)
Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas: I’m In Love / Zydeco / Putumayo 160 – (N’AWLINS)
Irma Thomas: Sweet Touch of Love / City of Dreams / Rounder 11661-2196 – (N’AWLINS)
Russell Batiste & the Orkestra from da Hood: Greetings from the Orkestra / The Clinic / RBJ 71944 – (N’AWLINS)
Gumbo: Alligator / Never Tell Me To Quit / Wild Rose 2009 – (OREGON)
Fats Domino: Walkin’ To New Orleans / The Genius of Dave Bartholomew / EMI 80184 – (N’AWLINS)
Otra: Con Otra in New Orleans / Todo Pa’La Gente / Otra 2004 – (N’AWLINS)
Irma Thomas, Marcia Ball and Tracy Nelson: Sing It / Legends of New Orleans / Blue Marble 2 – (N’AWLINS)
Johnny Adams: Body and Fender Man / Room With A View Of The Blues / Rounder 2059 – (N’AWLINS)
Los Hombres Calientes: Carnival (Havana) / Vol. 5 – Carnival / Basin Street Records 206 – (N’AWLINS)
Los Vecinos: A-Train Mambo / P’Aqui P’Alla / Category Seven Records 2002 – (N’AWLINS)
Dr. John: Goin’ Back To New Orleans / Goin’ Back To New Orleans / Warner 26940 – (N’AWLINS)
Nueva Manteca: When The Saints Go Marching In – Cuban Comparsa / Congo Square-Tribute to New Orleans / (demo CD) – (N’AWLINS)
The Blind Boys of Alabama featuring the Hot 8 Brass Band: I’ll Fly Away / Down In New Orleans / Time Life 9548 – (ALABAMA)

when it’s party time down south

February 14, 2010

Mardi Gras comes once a year, and while that’s hardly the only reason for partying in the Crescent City these days (go, Saints!) it’s reason enough for this week’s World of Music to join the fun!

Like we need an excuse.

On the eve of the big event we’ll take a second-line stroll down Bourbon Street with N’Awlins natives Kermit Ruffins, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. We’ll stop off for visits with the Nevilles, the Marsalises, and the Flying Neutrinos, and hear from Germany’s South Froggies in a hip new mix of the Basin Street Blues.

World of Music is a krewe-hopping, bead tossing, Quatuor Français jambalaya of blues, poetry, and world music every Monday from 3-5pm ET on the Radiator.  Online, or at 105.9FM if you’re listening in Burlington, VT.

And all dat jazz.

me and the devil

February 13, 2010

If you like Gil Scott-Heron’s music, message, and his individualism, you must also respect his place as a modern vanguard of artistic and personal dissent. It’s all part of the same package, the artist and the man as one. In a recent interview with NPR, Heron spoke to his recent time in prison:  “I have not recovered from anything. I did 18 months in one stretch and a year one time. That’s a small enough price to pay for all the crimes I committed.”

Defiant, original, and uncompromising, Scott-Heron has just released I’m New Here, his first recording in a decade and a half. On the inside of the CD’s front cover is a personal manifesto for listening to the recording. That’s your introduction to the experience, and it starts before you even start listening to it. The artistic power behind “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is as straightforward and relevant as ever:


Not in your car or on a portable player through a headset.
Take it home.
Get rid of all distractions, (even him or her).
Turn off your cell phone.
Turn off everything that rings or beeps or rattles or whistles.
Make yourself comfortable.
Play your CD.
LISTEN all the way through.
Think about what you got.
Think about who would appreciate this investment.
Decide if there is someone to share this with.
Turn it on again.
Enjoy Yourself.

Gil Scott-Heron

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