For no particular reason, this week's Jazz Caliente show starts with a set of three tunes about birds.
Birds are well represented in music throughout Spain, Cuba, Mexico and South America. Here are a few more Latin jazz bird songs.
The lovely Beatles melody, "Blackbird," lends itself to all kinds of rhythmic experimentation. We'll hear Afro-Peruvian jazz guitarist Richie Zellon's version on Jazz Caliente this week, and here's another from flutist Dave Valentin's 1979 album, The Hawk.
"Tico Tico No Fubá" is a Brazilian choro about a little sparrow who eats up all the cornmeal, written in 1917 and made popular in the 1940s in the U.S. by the "Brazilian Bombshell," Carmen Miranda. Flamenco guitarist Paco de Lucia did an amazing performance of the tune early in his career for a Spanish television show.
One of Dave Brubeck's most beautiful adaptations, "La Paloma Azul" (The Blue Dove) was written by Mexican composer, conductor and educator Carlos Chávez, who also was the founder and director of the Mexican Symphonic Orchestra. The Brubeck Quartet version from 1967, recorded at the Puebla Jazz Festival in Mexico City, included guitarist Benjamin Correa and percussionist Salvador Agueros.
Listen for bird songs on Jazz Caliente this week, including Hilton Ruiz's "Ornithology" and Sammy Figueroa's "Jumping Blue Jay." And stick around for other highlights, like a selection from the Rumba Kings new CD and from Puerto Rican percussion wizard Paoli Mejías.
Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5 p.m. The show is hosted by Robin Lloyd and produced by KNKX Public Radio.