During these tumultuous times, I’m turning to music for a deeper understanding of our diverse world. Sounds from different parts of the globe are helping to sharpen my perspective on the struggle for equality that is playing out on the streets of America and beyond.
Here are some of my recent favorites on heavy rotation.
“Miss Colombia,” the latest LP from Toronto-based Lido Pimienta, grabs you from the first notes. Pimienta’s vocals hypnotize and draw you in to her hyper-real world full of vibrant colors and rich Colombian textures. From the first track, “Para Transcibir,” you’re taken on an incredible journey of emotion and wonder. It’s a melting pot of musical styles, from modern electronics to Indigenous rhythms. I’m pulled in for her incredible Bjork-like vocal prowess but find myself staying for her mesmerizing musicality. Don’t sleep on the standout track featuring Bomba Estereo’s Li Saumet, “Nada.” Check Lido’s performance of the song on “COLORS SHOW.”
Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes’ debut “What Kinda Music” might as well be the dictionary definition of collaboration. When two like-minded yet very different artists come together to make music, magic happens. They seamlessly weave hip-hop, funk, jazz and electronic instrumentation to create a stunning example of modern jazz. The Blue Note Records release has such a smooth flow between tracks that it sometimes conceals the complex and intricately layered instrumentation on this outstanding LP. Misch’s soaring yet silky guitar combined with Dayes’ precise drumming stands out on “Lift Off.”
Hailing from Minneapolis, where an emotional memorial for George Floyd happened last week, Black Market Brass come correct with their own spin on African funk. What started as a band playing obscure funk covers eventually blossomed into a creative collective of musicians writing, arranging, and performing original music that builds on the sound of Nigerian Afrobeat by tastefully blending it with other styles.
Last but not least, with Tony Allen’s recent passing, it is almost serendipitous their new album, “Undying Thirst,” came across my headphones. Fela Kuti’s master drummer would have surely been proud to play on this record full of complex rhythms, chunky basslines and joyful horn sections. From top to bottom, the album bumps with infectious energy.
On the singles front, we’re spinning notable new offerings from Nikitch & Kuna Maze, Becca Mancari, Don Bryant, Alison Mosshart, DJDS and Smoove & Turrell.
Listen below for more. 👇