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 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.
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!
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.
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).
4. Quantic “El Yagé” (White Label 5-inch/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!
5. Mahmoud Ahmed “Yalem Baytewarnegn” (Mahmoud/Ethiopia)
The lovely folks at Sounds of the Universe (U.K. label and 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.
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.
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.
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!
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)” (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” (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 (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” (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 and the Angel City All-Star Brass Band “Mas Que Nada”(Jazz & Milk/USA)
Here’s my single, available 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 45 rpm acetate that my dear friend Will Holland cut for me.