Trumpeter/bandleader Todd Simon spins 45s of jazz around the world


Trumpeter/bandleader Todd Simon (Ethio Cali) blesses us with another jazz mixtape. Jazz on 45 Vol. 2 – Jazz Around the World features music from Ray Barretto, Tommy McCook, Hugh Masekela, and Fela. He also included a rare Quantic 5-inch (!) and his newest single from the Angel City All-Star Brass Band. Read his track-by-track write-up below.

Todd Simon has provided horns and production for Kelis, Lauryn Hill, Madlib, Quantic, Gaslamp Killer, Flying Lotus and more. You can purchase his new single, “Mas Que Nada,” via Bandcamp.

You can catch Todd at one of these upcoming Los Angeles performances:

10/23 Dexter Story’s Wondem album release party @ The Blue Whale
11/21 California Love/Dr. Dre Tribute @ Wilshire Ebell Theater


01 The Johnny Lytle Trio - The Village Caller

1. The Johnny Lytle Trio “The Village Caller” (Riverside/USA)

I’m a sucker for the sweet piano and vibraphone stylings of Johnny Lytle. I first heard “The Village Caller” on Jamaican vibraphonist Lennie Hibbert’s version titled “Village Soul” on the Studio 1 label. I was shocked to find the Lyle version at the Hollywood Amoeba Records for only $2.99!


02 Ray Barreto - Ritmo Sabroso

2. Ray Barretto “Ritmo Sabroso” (Tico/USA)

The B-side to Barreto’s classic “El Watusi” is my all-time favorite track of the Brooklyn-born Latin percussion maestro. The strings and grooves on this whole album (Charanga Moderna) are out of this world.


03 Hailu Mergia - Yegle Nesha

3. Hailu Mergia “Yegle Nesha” (Philophon/Ethiopia)

Here’s a recently recorded 45 featuring the Washington D.C.–based Ethiopian jazz master keyboardist/accordionist Hailu Mergia, produced by Poets of Rhythm drummer Max Weissenfeldt (out of Munich).


04 Quantic - El Yagé

4. Quantic “El Yagé” (White Label 5”/Colombia)

If you are lucky to catch a live Quantic DJ set, then you’ve been tempted to purchase the limited vinyl presses he travels with. Here’s a limited 5-inch 45 featuring a heavy slew of Colombian and Panamanian talent!


05 Mahmoud Ahmed - Yaelm Baytewarnegn

5. Mahmoud Ahmed “Yalem Baytewarnegn” (Mahmoud/Ethiopia)

The lovely folks at Sounds of the Universe (U.K. label & record shop) came across a box of these never-played Mahmoud Amed 45s on his own label and kindly sold them at a decent price via their online store. This track is a great representation of Ahmed’s jazzier side.


06 Tommy McCook & His Band - Caltone Special

6. Tommy McCook & His Band “Caltone Special” (Caltone/Jamaica)

Whoever reissued this Caltone gem on red vinyl is a saint! Here’s some classy Jamaican Jazz for you featuring the sax great Tommy McCook.


07 Antonio Carlos Jobim - Brazil Pts. 1 & 2

7. Antonio Carlos Jobim “Brazil (Pts. 1 & 2)” (CTI/Brazil)

Big-ups to Jason McGuinness aka Analog Burners for passing along this spacey Eumir Deodato arrangement with Jobim singing.


08 Hugh Masekela - Riot

8. Hugh Masekela “Riot” (Uni/South Africa)

One of my top-five 45s in my collection. Note the colorful sleeve and label Uni was sporting. “Riot” is off of the self-titled MASEKELA LP produced by Stewart Levine. Supposedly the folks at Uni couldn’t stand this album. I think it is one of the best!


09 Fela Ransome Kuti & His Highlife Rakers - Fela's Special

9. Fela Ransome Kuti & His Highlife Rakers “Fela’s Special” (Melodisc/Nigeria)

Miles Cleret from Soundway reissued this gorgeous Fela Kuti highlife 45 with the original label. Check out Kuti’s trumpet sound.


10 Lucho Bermudez - Tolu (Slow Version)

10. Lucho Bermudez “Tolu (Slow Version)” (Soundway/Colombia)

Here’s another Soundway reissue featuring one of my favorite big bands ever. Lucho Bermudez and his band sound like no other with this early Colombian jazz classic.


11 Feqadu Amde-Mesqel - Asmarina

11. Feqadu Amde-Mesqel “Asmarina” (Mr. Bongo/Ethiopia)

Whether it is Feqadu Amde-Mesqel or Mulatu Astatke (can someone makeup their mind?), it doesn’t matter, because this recording is top notch! A recent favorite of my ensemble Ethio Cali, this is Ethiopian jazz at its finest. There might be a few of these test pressings still available on the Mr. Bongo site.


12 The Karachi Prison Band - Put Some Grit In It

12. The Karachi Prison Band “Put Some Grit In It (Pt. 1)” (Magnetic Fields/Afghanistan)

Along his travels, Quantic came across recordings from the Karachi Prison Band out of Afghanistan. This is a tasty bit of Afghani jazz-funk released on Quantic’s short-lived Magnetic Fields label. I’ve always been amazed how similar the trumpeter and I sound.


13 Enrique Lynch Y Su Conjunto - Llego La Banda

13. Enrique Lynch y Su Conjunto “Llego La Banda” (Sono Rado/Peru)

Renzo Rivelli (Listen Clothing) gifted me this gem he found in Peru. Enrique Lynch has a powerhouse of a catalog. Latin jazz, boogaloo, salsa galore!


14 - Todd Simon & The Angel City All-Star Brass Band - Mas Que Nada

14. Todd Simon & the Angel City All-Star Brass Band “Mas Que Nada”(Jazz & Milk/USA)

Here’s my newest single available now via Jazz & Milk. It’s a version of the Brazilian classic “Mas Que Nada” relived in an Afro-Cuban style before exploding into a Samba party. I recorded it live to tape in an eighty-year old Hollywood studio. This version is coming from a 10-inch 45rpm acetate that my dear friend Will Holland cut for me.




Responses from Facebook


Leave a Response