One of America's finest exports is jazz music. This truly
American art form has made its way to the big cities of the world
and even to the most remote corners of our globe. The influence of
jazz on international musicians comes to life as they mix jazz with
their own diverse musical heritages to make it their own.
Jazz Playground, from Putomayo Kids
Putumayo World Music is a record company with a passion to bring
the music of the world into our lives. I believe deeply that music
is a wonderful way to bring the world a little closer to our
children. It serves as a bridge for meaningful cultural
understanding. So I applaud Putumayo for its efforts and
Jazz Playground is the
latest release from Putumayo Kids. As always,
the compilation CD features a wide array of fabulous musicians from
all around the world singing and playing a great collection of
family-friendly tunes. The tag line for the recording is "Be-bop,
swing and all that jazz: Cool tunes for global kids!" Definitely an
Though I really enjoy all the songs on Jazz Playground, some
standouts include the opening track, "Stomp, Stomp," by Lewis
Franco & The Missing Cats (USA); the irresistible sing-along
"Cumbamba" by José Conde (Cuba); and a very swinging take on the
traditional French song, "Sur Le Pont d'Avignon," by Triocéphale
My favorite just might be Canadian Chris McKhool's very hip
version of "Spider-Man," which reminds me of the old gypsy-style
jazz pioneered by jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli and guitarist
If you are looking for more great jazz for kids, be sure to
check out Chicago's own Steve Rashid and his "cross-generational
kids' music" CD, Fidgety Feet (WoodsideAvenue.com). Come to think
of it, quite a few of the tracks from Fidgety Feet would have fit
beautifully on Jazz Playground.
Fred Koch writes about music every month for Chicago Parent.
See more of Fred's stories here.
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