Melting Pot

Crowd getting down at LA's Funky Sole

Crowd getting down at LA’s Funky Sole

This past Saturday I returned to Funky Sole, my second appearance of the year and third time overall. Every time has been special for me. As I’ve mentioned previously, Funky Sole is the best soul and funk night I’ve ever gone to. Pretty much around the time I moved to LA they landed at their present location of the Echo and it’s the perfect venue for the perfect night.DJ Clifton aka Soft Touch at Funky Sole For so many of us who have had the pleasure of doing a guest DJ set, one of the things that makes it such a special night is the crowd that comes out. LA crowds don’t have the best reputation, sometimes they’re very fickle, sometimes they’re clearly there just to be seen and not really that interested in dancing. That is not the case at Funky Sole. People come out to dance and it’s always amazing just how far as a DJ you can take things and still have the dance floor packed.

On this particular Saturday night, Maestro Music Man Miles was out on tour, so it was just Clifton and me on the decks. We did get a surprise guest, Myron Glasper of Myron & E came down and essentially served as MC for the evening, leading the crowd in some chants, judging a mini-dance contest and even singing along to the Winston’s “Amen, Brother.” For my set, as usual, I tried to bring a mix of classics and deeper cuts, with a few from Cuba (Juan Pablo Torres’ “Pastel En Descarga” and Los Tainos’ “Amor Mio”), Brasil (two of my favorite Brazilian tracks, Gal Costa’s “Vou Recomecar” and Jorge Ben’s “Umbabarauma”) and all over the US, from NOLA with quite possibly my single favorite soul instrumental, Smokey Johnson’s “I Can’t Help It,” Miami’s All The People with “Cramp Your Style” and my hometown of Atlanta with the ever-present (at least when I spin soul nights) Franciene Thomas and her dynamite dance floor burner “I’ll Be There.”

After my set, me and Clifton traded songs, 2 for 2, which gave me a chance to push the boundaries (though again, the crowd ALWAYS kept the dance floor packed) with some more rocking sounds from Hell’s Belles soundtrack, Sarolta Zlatnay and Carl Sherlock Holmes. The best moment of the night for me was pretty close to the end, when I played Willie Hutch’s “I Choose You” (sampled best by UGK and Outkast for the “International Players Anthem”) and most of the couples who had stuck it out to the very end started slow dancing…If you missed it, you REALLY missed it. But at least you can hear the sounds. Below is the Guest DJ set from Saturday. Big thanks as always to Miles, Clifton and Nancy for the invite, it’s always an absolute pleasure.

Guest DJ Set At Funky Sole: 11-08-2014

Funky Sole Guest DJ Set: 11-08-2014
The Bar-Kays – Sang and Dance – 7” (Volt)
Gal Costa – Vou Recomecar – Gal Costa (1969) (Philips)
Juan Pablo Torres y Algo Nuevo – Pastel En Descarga – Super Son (Areito)
Jodi Gales – You Gotta Push – 7” (Savern)
Smokey Johnson – I Can’t Help It – 7” (NOLA)
FunkySole 112014 3Serge Gainsbourg – Requiem Pour Un Con – 7” (Phonodor)
Marcia Griffiths – Here I Am (Come And Take Me) – Sweet Bitter Love (Trojan)
Jorge Ben – Ponta De Lanca Africano (Umbabarauma) – Africa Brasil (Philips)
Los Tainos – Amor Mio – Los Tainos (Areito)
Dennis Coffey & the Detroit Guitar Band – Scorpio – Evolution (Sussex)
The Steve Karmen Big Band feat. Jimmy Radcliffe – Breakaway Pt. 1 – 7” (United Artists)
The Winstons – Amen, Brother – 7” (Metromedia)
Franciene Thomas – I’ll Be There – 7” (Tragar)
All The People – Cramp Your Style – 7” (Blue Candle)
Billy Garner – Brand New Girl – 7” (BGP)
The Rail Band – Mouodilo – 7” (HMV)
Lyn Collins – Mama Feelgood – Black Caesar: Original Soundtrack (Polydor)
Bill Withers – Kissing My Love – Still Bill (Sussex)
Toots & The Maytals – Time Tough – Funky Kingston (Mango)
Dave Barker – Do Your Thing – Africa’s Blood (Trojan)

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Back at it again this past Sunday with another new show. Started things off with just a taste of the Guest DJ set that I spun over at Funky Sole the night before (full post and set upcoming) and from there we got some new music from Shintaro Sakamoto, Budos Band, Run The Jewels, Khun Narin Electric Phin Band, Allo Darlin, Big K.R.I.T. and Goapele plus classic material from David Axelrod, the Chico Hamilton Quintet, Unwound, James Black and a short tribute to legendary Flamenco guitarist Manitas De Plata who passed away last week. The last set of the show begins with Ana Tijoux’s “Shock” which seemed like the best possible song to play in solidarity with the ongoing protests in Mexico connected to the disappearance of 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College of Ayotzinapa. There hasn’t been nearly enough press on what’s going on in Mexico (though not surprisingly KPFK and Pacifica have done what few mainstream news outlets in this country have done covering this story) and after the bodies were discovered earlier in the week, I felt compelled to play something and add my voice to the chorus saying “Ya Me Canse/I’ve Had Enough.”

Melting Pot on KPFK #181: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #181: Second Hour

Playlist: 11-09-2014
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Marcia Griffiths – Here I Am – Bitter Sweet Love (Trojan)
Jorge Ben – Ponta De Lanca Africano – Africa Brasil (Philips)
Los Tainos – Amor Mio – Los Tainos (Areito)
Dennis Coffer – Scorpio – Evolution (Sussex)
Steve Karmen Big Band feat. Jimmy Radcliffe – Breakaway – 7” (UA)
The Winstons – Amen Brother – 7” (Metromedia)

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Shintaro Sakamoto – Like An Obligation – Let’s Dance Raw (Other Music)
Something Unique – This Feeling Between Us – Catch Action: The Sophisticated Boogie Funk Of Sheridan House Records (Ubiquity)
James Black – (I Need) Altitude – (I Need) Altitude (Night Train)
Jungle Fire – Snake Pit – Tropicoso (Nacional)

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The Budos Band – The Sticks – Burnt Offering (Daptone)
David Axelrod – A Divine Image – Songs Of Experience (Capitol)
Unwound – Corpse Pose – No Energy (Numero)
Khun Narin Electric Phin Band – Lai Sing – Khun Narin Electric Phin Band (Innovative Leisure)

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Manitas De Plata – Jota – Flamenco Guitar (Connoisseur Society)
Sun Kil Moon – Alesund – Admiral Fell Promises (Caldo Verde)
Chico Hamilton Quintet – Lucky So And So – Ellington Suite (World Pacific)
Allo Darlin’ – Heartbeat – We Come From The Same Place (Slumberland)

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Run The Jewels – Oh My Darling Don’t Cry – Run The Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal)
Flying Lotus – Turkey Dog Coma – You’re Dead (Warp)
Goapele – Perfect – Strong As Glass (Jordan House)
Les Sins – Do Right – Michael (Car Park)
Alpha – A Perfect End – Stargazing (Nettwerk)

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Ana Tijoux – Shock – La Bala (Nacional)
Big K.R.I.T. – Saturdays = Celebration – Cadillatica (Def Jam)
Rev. TL Barrett & the Youth For Christ Choir – Like A Ship (Without A Sail) – Like A Ship (Without A Sail) (Light In The Attic)

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{closing theme} Dungen – C. Visar Vagen – Tio Bitar (Kemado)

Tainos

Los Tainos – Amor Mio
Los Tainos – Conjura
Los Tainos Te Digo Que Se Acabo

It’s gonna be my honor to return to Funky Sole at the Echo this Saturday, November 8th, for a guest set spinning soul, funk and whatever else I can get away with ’round Midnight. I’m currently pulling records, thinking about what kind of sounds I want to bring out for the people and realized I hadn’t posted this album from the Cuban outfit Los Tainos. Because of the long standing embargo this country has with Cuba, you don’t run across many Cuban records out and about here in the States. I got this one in addition to several others from a dealer out of Japan. I’d first heard “Amor Mio” on the amazing Si Se Puede collection put out by Waxing Deep back in 2007. That collection was a revelation uncovering the sounds of 1960s/1970s Cuba and the wealth of amazing funky sounds coming out of the island at that time.

I don’t have a lot of info on Los Tainos, other than the Cuban musical maestro Daniel Guzman. “Amor Mio” has an almost understated style in comparison to some of the big band inspired tracks that dominate the album, but it sure is funky. When the band finally slows it down again towards the end of the record, with back to back boleros, or as their described here “Bolero Beat,” that similar subtle funk comes back. The album’s closer “Te Digo Que Se Acabo” almost feels like two different songs, starting off as nothing special, but then making an aburpt left turn in hardcore percussion driven latin-funk. Just when they get in the groove, it seems like the song is gone, but they’ve certainly left quite an impression. As far as I can tell this is the only release from the group, which really is a shame. Then again, especially for us in the States, perhaps we should be thankful to even be able to hear these funky sounds out of Cuba.

Cheers,

Michael

JoshHaden

foto © Martin Dam Kristensen

Earlier in the year Josh Haden and his group Spain released their fifth studio album, Sargent Place, overseas and this week the album received a stateside release via Dine Alone records. Though 2012’s The Soul of Spain marked the bands return after a decade long absence, in some ways Sargent Place should be considered the proper return of the band. I say this primarily because the vast majority of the songs on this album were written by the group in the run up to recording and changed form in the process of recording the album.

Spain will be playing a free show tomorrow at Amoeba Hollywood at 6pm and in connection with that we’ve been given a few copies of the new album, signed by Josh Haden, to give to readers of the blog. E-mail me at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com if you want a chacne to enter into the giveaway. I’ll be choosing winners on Friday, November 7th!

Of the many noteworthy songs on Sargent Place (including “You and I” which features the final recording of Charlie Haden, the legendary father of bass player/vocalist Josh Haden), one of the most beautiful is surely “The Fighter,” featuring strings and harmony vocals from Haden’s sister Petra.

The band has even released a rare video for this album, for the lead track, “Love At First Sight”:

BudosBurnt

Budos Band – Burnt Offering

The Budos Band has built a reputation over the years as purveyors of dark and heavy Afro-funk. Nothing in their previous three albums could have prepared fans for the heavy waves of darkness on their fourth album Burnt Offering. As the cover art indicates, the Budos boys are making clear allusions to the early 1970s “Wizard Rock” heavy psych / proto metal sounds of Black Sabbath or Dust and it certainly shows up in the sound. It’s a heavy, grittier, tougher sound, one that still has echoes of previous records, but charts a new and exciting course for the band. “Burnt Offering” sounds like a mythic example of the instrumental backing tracks of the Sabbath album we all wish David Axelrod had produced. Though the band had a signature sound and a safe place in the neo-funk upper echelons, this change in tone, theme and sound is a most welcome change indeed.

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It’s been a long time…but finally we were back on the air this Sunday. Felt a little rusty, and a bit of that shows, but overall it’s a pretty solid edition and features a number of brand new recordings that I haven’t gotten a chance to feature before, including new music Flying Lotus, Run The Jewels, Submotion Orchestra, Khun Narin Electric Band, The Bug, Allo Darlin’, Les Sins and the Budos Band. A few classics mixed in, particularly for All Souls Day/Dia De Los Muertos from Los Fabulosos Cadillacs and the 4th Coming, as well as Can, The Afrosound, Holly Golightly and more. One month seemed like three or four, it’s truly great to be back where I belong bringing you music on KPFK.

Melting Pot on KPFK #180: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #180: Second Hour

Playlist: 11-2-2014
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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Los Fabulosos Cadillacs – Calaveras y Diablitos – Fabulosos Calavera (Sony)
Holly Golightly – Painted On – Painted On (Damaged Goods)
Larry Williams & Johnny Watson with Kaleidoscope – Nobody – Country Funk Vol. 2 (Light In The Attic)
The 4th Coming – The Dead Don’t Die Alive – 7” (Alpha)

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Flying Lotus – Coronus, The Terminator – You’re Dead (Warp)
Submotion Orchestra – Trust/Lust – Alium (Counter)
Les Sins – Toy – Michael (Car Park)
Onuma Singsri – Lam Plearn Toe Lhong Tong – Sound Of Siam Vol. 2 (Soundway)
Afro Latin Vintage Orchestra – Code Panthera – Pulsion (Ubiquity)

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KING – Hey – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
The Bug feat. Liz Harris – Void – Exit (Ninja Tune)
Clarke – Beacon – Clarke (Warp)
Can – Spray – Future Days (UA)

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Khun Narin Electric Phin Band – Lam Phu Thai – Khun Narin Electric Phin Band (Innovative Leisure)
Run The Jewels feat. Boots – Early – Run The Jewels 2 (Mass Appeal)
Mark Lindsay – Lone Wolf’s Theme – Shogun Assassin (Baby Cart Productions)

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Spain – Let Your Angel – Sargent Place (Dine Alone)
Fern Jones – When A Sinner Prays – The Glory Road (Numero)
Tinariwen – Tamatant Tilay – Aman Iman (Independiente)
Batida – La Vai Maria – Dois (Soundway)
Allo Darlin’ – Romance and Adventure – We Come From The Same Place (Slumberland)

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Jungle Fire – Village Hustle – Tropicoso (Nacional)
Afrosound – Banana De Queso – The Afrosound Of Columbia Vol. 2 (Vampi Soul)
Stone Wall – Living Today – Local Customs: Cavern Sound (Numero)
Budos Band – Burnt Offering – Burnt Offering (Daptone)

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{closing theme} Dungen – C. Visar Vagen – Tio Bitar (Kemado)

Fireeater

Rusty Bryant – Fire Eater

Today would have been Matthew Africa’s 43rd birthday. As has been the case since his passing in 2012, on this day I pay tribute to my friend by posting about a record that I connect with him or that connected him to me. This record in particular is special for a couple of reasons. First, it actually came from Matthew’s collection, much of which has been auctioned off on Ebay, with proceeds going to his family (including a number of records that are up right now).

MattAfrica6The second and major reason this record is special is because of the place it holds in my history as a DJ and record collector. Rusty Bryant’s “Fire Eater,” maybe more so than any other piece of rare soul-jazz, ignited the passion I have for vinyl. If you’ve ever heard the “Fire Eater” you can understand how it might have that effect. It’s without a doubt the best song and the main reason to get this album. Now, that’s not to say that the other three tracks on the album aren’t great, they are. “Free At Last” and “The Hooker” solid slower tempo songs, and “Mister S.” is a capable up tempo soul-jazz groover…but they’re not in the same league with “Fire Eater.” Nothing I’ve heard before or since is in the same league as “Fire Eater.”

I first heard this song on a collection put out by Luv’n’Haight back in 1993 (I think I got a copy of it in 1994 or 1995) called Jazz Dance Classics, Vol. 1. This collection and this series was instrumental in getting me to move beyond CDs and cassettes and to search and dig for sounds that were no longer in print, that formed the backbone of Hip-Hop or that few people had heard before. Essentially my whole career as a DJ, at least what has distinguished me from many other DJs over the years, began with that collection. It wasn’t until a decade later, and 4 or 5 years after I already knew Matthew that I even realized that this classic collection had been compiled by Matthew Africa. One of the things that I am most thankful for is that I was able to let him know what a profound effect he’d had on me simply by doing what he did best, sharing the music that he enjoyed.

Listening to “Fire Eater” is easy to see why Matthew chose this one as the centerpiece of that collection. It’s an absolute fucking monster. There’s nothing I can say about it that improves on what Matthew said back in 1993, so I’ll just leave it to him:

“A few months ago I played a certain Rusty Bryant track on Beni B’s radio show here in Berkeley and the response was astounding –within moments the station was flooded with callers begging to know what they were listening to. One caller who couldn’t get through came all the way down to the station! Why? If you have to ask, you’ve never heard Fire Eater. What is it? A raw and rampaging slice of pure jazz funk. Rusty more than holds his own, but the track is dominated by Bill Mason’s hammering organ and Idris Muhammad’s brutal drums. Well worth the price of admission.”

MattAfricaSignIn the years since I came into contact with that collection, later on tracking down the original record, I’ve played this record now on four different radio stations in three different states. Without fail someone will call up in a slightly crazed, dazed or shocked manner, asking what song this is, (generally about halfway through Bill Mason’s fiery solo on Hammond B-3). When I think back about all those times, I think about Matthew playing it at KALX for the first time and wondering what kind of effect that had on him. I’m not sure, maybe Beni knows, but I wonder if the response the “Fire Eater” got, along with other gems Matthew used to throw on, was the thing that finally convinced him to host his own show. Maybe I’ll never know, that is part of the tragedy of losing people you care for, you’re never able to answer the questions you never asked when they were here. But we do have our stories, and those of us who knew Matthew have many stories and so much music to remind us of him, for that I am eternally grateful.

Peace be with you,

Michael

Five for John Holt…R.I.P.

October 22nd, 2014

Holt

Of late I’ve been remiss in paying tribute to dearly departed musicians here on the blog, but when word of John Holt’s passing came through earlier in the week, I knew I’d be writing a bit about this man, his amazing voice and some of my favorite tracks. What I always appreciated about Holt was his smooth delivery. So cool, just effortlessly breezy, in the way the words flow. Without a doubt I’m sure Holt was a major influence on maybe my favorite singer from Jamaica, Gregory Isaacs, and his songs have been a delight to all who’ve heard them. While most people know Holt’s “The Tide Is High,” because mega pop stars Blondie covered it in the 1980s, the man cut a number of fantastic sides, originally with his group the Paragons and just by himself. These five are the ones I’ll remember him most for.

The Paragons – Wear You To The Ball

“The Tide Is High” and “On The Beach” got more acclaim, “Wear You To The Ball” is as good if not better. Maybe it’s just because of the story in the song, where the singer is taking a date to the Ball, that other people wouldn’t. As Holt croons, “Though you don’t suit those other guys, you suit me fine.” I’m a sucker for underdog/ugly duckling stories. Additionally, “Ball” has one of the most distinctive openings for a rock steady song. Just great all around.

The Paragons – I Want To Go Back

Along with all the other songs on the Paragons’ album On The Beach, I discovered this one on my first trip to the Bay Area as an adult back in 1997. I don’t know exactly how long it took, but I was convinced for years that the Beatles covered Holt and the gang, not the other way around. This version was just so good, so thoroughly soulful that it couldn’t have originated from anyone else. To this day I can’t even listen the Beatles version…for me there’s just no comparison.

John Holt – A Love I Can Feel

Another cover that I didn’t know was a cover until years later, in this case the Temptations, “I Want A Love I Can See.” Might be a little up-tempo to fully qualify as Lover’s Rock, but that sentiment and Holt’s phrasing make it just about perfect.

John Holt – Let’s Build Our Dreams

“Let’s Build Our Dreams” is without a doubt one of the most soulful reggae I’ve ever heard. Some of that comes through in the just ever so slightly slower riddim and those notes on the organ. But it’s Holt’s singing, the style and the sentiment that kills me every time. The interplay between John Holt and Slim Smith also is deeply soulful. A classic amongst classics.

John Holt – Ali Baba

One of my all-time favorites. Not a week goes by where for one reason or another either the first line, “I dreamed last night about Ali Babe, with the 40 thieves…” or “I rode through the valley with the princess by my side…” pops into my mind. My response is almost always the same, whether I’m walking down the street, sitting in my office or in my car, in the shower, wherever…I start singing it and dance a very particular reggae step. The riddim just by itself would have made this one a classic. Holt’s cooler than cool delivery makes it legendary, just like the man himself.

AlloDarlin1

One of my favorite indie-pop outfits from outside of the States, Allo Darlin’, is gracing us with a rare show this Thursday over at the Echo! Featuring Aussie Elizabeth Morris on the lead vocals, guitar and electric ukulele, the band released one of my absolute favorite late Summer songs a few years ago and are just about to release (like tomorrow!) their latest record, We Come From The Same Place, once again for Oakland’s Slumberland label. If you want to see them courtesy of Melting Pot, drop me a line to michael[at]meltingpotblog.com before 5pm, Wednesday October 22nd.

Here’s the first single from their new record, “Bright Eyes,” a vocal duet, back and forth kind of song that is beyond infectious:

I’d hoped to bring the band in to record a session at KPFK, especially since they’re not likely to be around again for several years, but instead, we’ll have to make do with this session at KEXP from 2012:

I’ve posted it before, but there’s no reason not to post it again, here’s one of the greatest end of summer songs I’ve ever heard, “Tallulah,” featuring Elizabeth Morris’ lovely voice and unique accent (Australian with a little British and something else mixed together) along with a bit uke strumming along:

SheridanHouse

Something Unique – This Feeling Between Us

Still on hiatus from the radio show for at least another week, but at least this week, we’ll have a fair amount of music and other goodies for y’all folks…starting the week of right is this new collection put out by Ubiquity records and compiled by DJ Sureshot. There probably isn’t a city that is more associated with the modern soul/boogie renaissance of the last several years than Los Angeles, and aside from all the fine work of Dam Funk and his Funkmosphere crew, Boogie music has a very 1980s LA feel. Sheridan House was one of a number of local labels that put out the funky stuff toward the end of the 1970s and early 1980s. At 27 tracks, there’s a ton of music to digest, some of which repurposes beats from other songs, but even those “versions” are enjoyable on their own merits. While I love the “sophisticated boogie,” I particularly dig the slower tracks on this album. Something Unique’s “This Feeling Between Us,” is just a shade reminiscent of the classic “You Can’t Turn Me Away” and since it was released a year later in 1981, it’s quite possible that that’s deliberate. If you dig this sound (and I don’t really know anyone who doesn’t love this sound) I’m sure you’ll dig on this collection.

foto © Valerio Berdini

foto © Valerio Berdini

This one is a bit last minute as a extra pair opened up…Mark Kozelek/Sun Kil Moon will be performing here in LA on Thursday, October 9th at the Fonda Theatre. Most people know Kozelek, by name or by sound, as the main force behind the much beloved Red House Painters. For more than a few years now he’s recorded music under the moniker Sun Kil Moon that remains connected to his past work, but also presents elements that were only hinted at with his prior band. Of late he’s especially grown fond of playing an Acoustic nylon string guitar and the results have been beautiful, particularly on 2010’s Admiral Fell Promises. Benji, his most recent release, includes some of the most personal songwriting of his career, and it’s likely that this show will feature mostly songs from that album, but who knows. With a body of work as rich and varied as Kozelek’s there’s no telling which songs he’ll perform or what mood he’ll be in. I’m sure it will be a night to remember, and if you’d like to go courtesy of Melting Pot, send me an e-mail at michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 5pm today for a chance to win!

Not sure if tomorrow’s show will be a solo one or he’ll have a band backing him up, but either way the results are extraordinary. Here’s Sun Kil Moon with a full band back Kozelek, for the song “Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes,” from the most recent album Benji:

I very rarely will feature a cellphone video on this site, but I highlight this one, because “Church Of The Pines” is one of my favorite recent songs from Sun Kil Moon, and also to showcase just how extraordinary Kozelek sounds when he performs solo:

Connor

Chris Connor – Where Are You
Chris Connor – Ev’rytime
Chris Connor – Get Out Of Town

As I’ve mentioned here and on the radio show, I’ve been on a major jazz record kick here in 2014. Quite a lot of that started earlier in the year when I ran across a couple records from vocalist Chris Connor while at Groove Merchant in San Francisco. While I was familiar with the name, I couldn’t recall here voice, but from the moment I dropped the needle to this album while at the store, I was in love.

Chris Connor was associated with the “cool” school of vocalists coming out of the 1940s and early 1950s, including Anita O’Day and June Christy. She actually got her big break when Christy recommended her as a replacement with Stan Kenton’s band. While I love a lot of the vocalists associated with this period of jazz, what I feel like sets Connor apart is not only how cool and effortless her singing sounds, but also the hint of vulnerability in her phrasing.

This album was her debut on Atlantic, after recorded some splendid sides on the Bethlehem record label. It’s actually a historic record, as this album was the first from a white jazz vocalist to have been released on the label, which by the mid-1950s was especially associated with Rhythm & Blues. This album, and several of the ones that followed for the label, have a mix of jazz and pop stylings. Most of the pop stuff with the strings and background vocals I can do without, it seems a waste of Connor’s talents, but when she’s with a smaller group (that on this album features John Lewis, Connie Kay, Oscar Pettiford and Barry Galbraith), as she is on “Where Are You” and “Ev’rytime,” the results are simply stunning.

On a more sociological note, I find artists like Connor fascinating, singing heterosexual love songs and never publicly being able to acknowledge the woman you love, at least not while your career is in full swing. I wish she were still alive or there were more interviews with her or her partner to detail what that life was like. Thankfully we have the music and in that music there are many layers of wonder to consider.

Cheers,

Michael

KhanBBQ

I’d heard they’d broken up, that we’d seen the last of King Khan & the BBQ show, but clearly those accounts were greatly exaggerated cause they’ll be playing here in Los Angeles on Tuesday October 7th at the El Rey. In contrast to the expansive sonic fury when he’s backed by his 10 piece (at least) band the Shrines, Khan’s work with BBQ show is stripped down and bone raw. BBQ Show would be a draw just by himself, with his one-man band percussion set-up, jangly guitars and vocals, but you add in King Khan and it ups the intensity and insanity levels far past 11. If you’d like to see them courtesy of Melting Pot, make sure to send me an e-mail to michael[at]meltingpotblog.com before 5pm on Monday, October 6th!

Just as an introduction to the sound of King Khan & the BBQ Show, here’s their video for the song “Fish Fry”:

And for a better idea of what’s in store for you if you go to the show, I think this video just about sums it up:

JFIRE

Jungle Fire – Tropicoso

First heard about Jungle Fire a couple years ago, when Oliver Wang of Soul-Sides.com was raving about their first single, “Comencemos,” a cover of Phirpo y Sus Caribes (covering Fela Kuti). I’d recently heard the original and while they two shared a number of sensibilities and style, that new version seemed tougher and tighter rhythmically. A couple of 45s for the Colemine label followed and whet our appetites for the main course, their debut album, just released by Latin-Alt label Nacional. Like a number of funky groups in the LA area, Jungle Fire shares a few members with other bands, but together their style is all their own. The band’s stock and trade is a muscular, heavy Afro Latin Funk sound. Tropicoso features the previous singles as well as a number of other originals that showcase the varied talents and inspirations of the group. “Tropicoso” starts off with a bit of a cumbia feel to it, until the drums and horns kick in and suddenly it’s become the all-star recording session that you always wished Fruko y Sus Tesos and Eddie Palmieri’s Harlem River Drive had recorded in the early 1970s. That sound never really existed, at least not until now with Jungle Fire and that’s part of the beauty of the band in this post-Hip-Hop musical landscape, the ability to mix styles and sounds in a way that pays homage to the past, but keeps things moving forward.

BroAli

On Thursday, October 2nd, one of the most respected underground rappers in the game right now will be here in LA performing at the Troubadour. Brother Ali returns to our city to perform here at the start of 30+ date tour of the US and Canada…if you’d like to see him courtesy of Melting Pot, send an e-mail to michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 5pm, Wednesday October 1st!

Here’s an example of what’s potentially in store for you, from a live performance that Ali did on the radio station KEXP with a full band:

Here’s the video for one of my favorite songs from Brother Ali…2012’s “Mourning In America”:

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