Ah, Putumayo Kids, you compiler and purveyor of music from around the world, you must be running out of themes, right? Rock & Roll Playground? Isn't there another region of the world you need to unearth some musical treasures from? What's next - Pop Playground? Hip-Hop Playground? (Actually, please get on that, stat.)
Most regular readers have heard many of these tracks (or at least the artists), but credit Putumayo for having the sense to string 'em together in a happy-happy pop-rock mixtape with few if any duds. For example, Taj Mahal -> Dan Zanes -> Charity and the JAMband = win. (Or, Rhythm Child -> Rosie Flores -> Uncle Rock = win.) Best for kids ages 3 through 8 (samples here), you could probably put together your own 34-minute playlist, but why bother when they've already done the work for you? Recommended.
Having said all that, Jazz Playground is my favorite of all the Putumayo "Playground" series disks, and that's saying something. The nature of jazz is such that it covers lots of styles and permits fresh interpretations of songs we've heard dozens if not hundreds of times before, and as a result, there's a nice mix of new and old, providing new perspectives -- and isn't that one of the major points of the Putumayo concept anyway? The album deftly navigates the line between over-reliance on English language voices (which you can get anywhere) and non-English language songs (which can be hard for English speakers to fully appreciate, no matter how funky the liner notes are).
Beyond that, it's just plain fun through and through, from Zooglobble favorite Lewis Franco & the Missing Cats doing his swing original "Stomp, Stomp" to Chris McKhool's fiddle-based take on "Spider-Man" to the Latin jazz of Jose Conde's "Cumbamba." And on down the line. Best for kids ages 2 through 8, the 31-minute album (again, samples here) goes onto my shortlist of essential jazz-for-kids albums. Definitely recommended.