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Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

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Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

Heavy Rotation

Heavy Rotation: 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing

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  • Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Our friends at NPR Music check in with radio DJs for their latest favorite songs - that is besides B.J. Leiderman, who writes our theme music. Here's a sample of what they have in heavy rotation.

AMY MILLER: My name is Amy Miller. I'm the program director at KXT in Dallas, Texas. And a song we have in heavy rotation right now is "Shakedown" by Valerie June.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHAKEDOWN")

VALERIE JUNE: (Singing) Somebody, somebody - not any old body, not any old body.

MILLER: And this is the type of song that just makes you want to stomp your feet, clap your hands. I mean this song I love 'cause it sounds like The Big Party Band.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHAKEDOWN")

JUNE: (Singing) Shakedown, breakdown, showdown. That move...

MILLER: She's from a small town in Tennessee, so you hear, you know, the roots influence. You here some backing vocals come in - in and out of the track. And those are actually provided by her family members, as well as Norah Jones, who - I hear Norah's actually going to be making a few appearances on her new album.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHAKEDOWN")

NATE CHINEN: I'm Nate Chinen, director of editorial content at WBGO in Newark. And the track that I brought in is by a British duo called Yussef Kamaal. The track is called "Strings Of Light."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STRINGS OF LIGHT")

CHINEN: There's a drummer named Yussef Dayes and a keyboardist named Kamaal Williams. And they have been working together in a very sort of - like, a loose improvisatory fashion, playing these sessions at the Boiler Room in London. This album came out of those sessions. It was, you know, a lot of groove-oriented ideas drawing from vintage jazz fusion and also from London club music.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STRINGS OF LIGHT")

CHINEN: There's a great trumpet solo by an expatriate Cuban trumpet player named Yelfris Valdes. He's been living in London for a couple of years now. And I wasn't actually aware of him until I heard him on this album, and he's clearly someone to pay attention to.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STRINGS OF LIGHT")

CHINEN: The '70s is definitely a reference point in this music, but I don't think that you would hear this and think that it was any kind of a throwback. You know, they're doing something that feels very grounded in this scene. I think this is a particularly sort of contemporary London-sounding group. And it's always valuable to me to hear a dispatch from the contemporary London jazz scene, which has a lot in common with what we're doing here, but, you know, also has its own vibe and its own sort of temperature.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "STRINGS OF LIGHT")

ANNE LITT: Hi, my name is Anne Litt, and I'm a deejay at NPR affiliate KCRW in Los Angeles, Calif. And the name of the song I chose is from an artist called Gabriel Garzon-Montano. It's called "The Game."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GAME")

GABRIEL GARZON-MONTANO: (Singing) Do you worry about everything, afraid you ain't got the tight game?

LITT: That's just for starters, the song has a great vibe. It's sexy. It's cozy. There's a great line in here, and you can't say it without smiling. He says - have a heart like a tangerine. That makes me smile.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GAME")

GARZON-MONTANO: (Singing) Have a heart like a tangerine. Have a heart like a tangerine. Find love in a special way.

LITT: He's an interesting guy. His mother is French. His father is Colombian. They were both immigrants to the United States, but he was born in Brooklyn and has been raised in Brooklyn. His mom was actually part of Philip Glass' ensemble in the '90s. And from her, he learned all about classical music and that attention to detail. And then he sort of combined that with his heritage and, you know, his love of '70s soul and funk. You can totally hear it.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GAME")

GARZON-MONTANO: (Singing) Find love in a special way.

LITT: One of the things I love about this song is that there's an optimism to it. It's sort of, to my ear, a life-is-beautiful-approach to looking at the world.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE GAME")

GARZON-MONTANO: (Singing) You don't have to lose the game. Have a heart like a tangerine.

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