Melting Pot

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Started the show off with a show of solidarity connected to the upcoming commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide of 1915, which resulted in 1.5 million deaths and was the original event for which the term “genocide” was created to describe. Like so many other moments of horror in history, this is something that is still unacknowledged by many people around the world, especially those in present day Turkey. Armenian Hip-Hop artist R. Mean’s song and video “Open Wounds” was created to bring greater awareness to this moment and it’s there that we began:

From there we also paid brief tribute to GURU of Gang Starr who passed away 5 years ago, and to Charles Mingus, just ahead of what would have been his 93rd birthday on April 22nd, and in between there’s a whole lot of music including new tunes from Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators, The Sandwitches, Jose James, King Khan & the BBQ Show, Oddisee, Nadine Shah, Death and classics from Gal Costa, Captain Beefheart, Can, Ramswey Lewis and Tim Buckley. We’ll be back next week, all on vinyl to close out the month.

Melting Pot on KPFK #194: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #194: Second Hour

Playlist: 04-19-2015
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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R. Mean – Open Wounds – Open Wounds 1915 (Self-Released)
Gang Starr – Robbin Hood Theory – Moment Of Truth (Noo Trybe)
Buddy Collette – Fun City – Now And Then (Legend)
Nadine Shah – Nothing Else To Do – Fast Food (R&S)

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Death – Resurrection – N.E.W. (Drag City)
The King Khan & BBQ Show – We Are The Champion – Bad News Boys (In The Red)
Captain Beefheart & the Magic Band – Sugar N’ Spikes – Trout Mask Replica (Straight)
Tashi Dorji – Forbidden – Appa (Bathetic)
Fernanda y Bernarda Utrera – Lo Mismo Juego – El Cante De Fernanda Y Bernarda Utrera (Fontana)

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Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators – Paint Me In A Corner – Single (Timmion)
Ramsey Lewis – Ode – Maiden Voyage (Cadet)
Jungle Fire – Together/Los Filigreses – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
The Rebirth – Show ‘Em – Being Thru The Eyes Of A Child (Walkin’ Talkin’)

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Jose James – I Thought About You – Yesterday I Had The Blues (Blue Note)
Tim Buckley – Blue Melody – Blue Afternoon (Straight)
Oddisee – Belong To The World – The Good Fight (Mello Music)
Ibeyi – Weatherman – Ibeyi (XL)
Clark – Beacon – Clark (Warp)

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Nosaj Thing feat. Chance The Rapper – Cold Stares – Fated (Innovative Leisure)
Portico – Atacama – Living Fields (Ninja Tune)
Can – Bring Me Coffee or Tea – Tago Mago (UA)
Mrr/Adm feat. Malcolm Catto – 009 – Untitled 10” (Self-Released)

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The Sandwitches – Play It Again Dick – Our Toast (Empty Cellar)
Gal Costa – The Archaic Lonely Star Blues – Le-Gal (Phillips)
Charles Mingus – Half-Mast Inhibition – Mingus Revisited (Limelight)

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

BuddyCollette

Buddy Collette – Fun City
Buddy Collette – Shatara
Buddy Collette – Safari West

As I’m pretty sure I mentioned previously, I’ve been buying and listening to a lot of jazz over the past year. This record came my way via KPFK’s Jazz guru Mark Maxwell, host of Rise on Sunday/Monday Midnights to 2am on the station. Last year Mark was selling records at the Beat Swap Meet and mentioned that he also had some rarer things up on Ebay at that time. He asked me if I had heard this record from Buddy Collette, who did some really solid work with Chico Hamilton and on his own in the 1950s and 1960s…I had not. Lucky for me (though not I supposed for Mark), no one else seemed to be interested in this record and I got it for a shockingly low price (so low that I think I actually gave Mark some additional money, because it just didn’t seem right getting a record this good for that cheap).

Collette was a really central figure in the jazz scene here in Los Angeles, both as a musician and as a teacher (Eric Dolphy was a student of his and I think we can all be thankful for that), well respected though not as well-known as others associated with West Coast Jazz. Just over the past year I’ve added more than a few records featuring Collette, particularly his gorgeous work with Chico Hamilton in the 1950s. This album was a bit of a surprise, mostly because I hadn’t heard much from Collette out of the 50s/60s sweet spot. Though most of the album is fairly straight ahead and what you might expect (“Shatara” in particular reminds me of those Chico Hamilton years), “Fun City” and “Safari West” have a fantastic, almost Spiritual jazz quality to them. Like so many of the records Collette was associated with in his many many years as a player, this music seems designed to be played on calm and serene Spring days, just like the one we enjoyed today here in Los Angeles.

Cheers,

Michael

Portico

Portico feat. Jamie Woon – Memory Of Newness

In the recent past, Portico was known as the Portico Quartet, and their sound was more closely aligned with the Cinematic Orchestra, though with a more of a classic jazz edge to it. Of late they dropped both the jazzier style and the “quartet” from their name and have been reimagined as a bit more ambient, more electronic, much darker in tone outfit. I’m not even sure exactly what to call music like this, increasingly I find I’ve grown tired of trying to box the music I enjoy, particularly newer artists, into neat genres. It is fascinating music, made all the more intriguing by the choice of vocalists, including Joe Newman of Alt-J, Jono McCleery and Jamie Woon, who can be heard on the track I’ve chosen to highlight for you, “Memory of Newness.”

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Easter Sunday is always a fun show for me. Since the move to KPFK, I’ve tried to come up with some unexpected tracks in celebration, and while I almost always include personal favorites like “Groovin’ With Jesus” or “Get High With Jesus” I felt like keeping things fresh this year and playing tunes I hadn’t featured before, with a track from Axelrod’s “Mass,” Alice Coltrane’s epic “Lord Of Lords” and a recent entry from Kendrick Lamar, his “How Much Does A Dollar Cost?” The show from there features a fair amount of new things, including tracks from Rapper Big Pooh (of Little Brother), Ibeyi, Warpaint, Toro y Moi, Dom La Nena, Waxahatchee and Portico. At the start of the second hour there is a short excerpt of a tribute set that Oliver Wang of Soul-Sides.com put together for our friend Matthew Africa. You can check out the full-length mix by clicking right here. We’ll be back with the music after a week hiatus for fundraising, see you then!

Melting Pot on KPFK #193: 1st Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #193: 2nd Hour

Playlist: 04-5-14
{opening theme} Booker T & The MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

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David Axelrod & the Electric Prunes – Agnus Dei – Mass In F Minor (Reprise)
Alice Coltrane – Lord Of Lords – Lord of Lords (Impulse)
Kendrick Lamar – How Much Does A Dollar Cost? – How To Pimp A Butterfly (Top Rank Dawg/Aftermath/Interscope)

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Ibeyi – Better In Tune With The Infinite – Single (Self-Released)
Grupo Folklorico Y Experimental Nueva Yorquino – Canto Asoyin – Concepts In Unity (Salsoul)
Fela Kuti & Africa 70 – Water No Get Enemy – Expensive Shit (Knitting Factory)

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Rapper Big Pooh feat. Eric Black Soul Keith – How I Move – Words Paint Pictures (Mello Music)
Toro Y Moi – The Flight – What For? (Carpark)
Waxahatchee – La Loose – Ivy Tripp (Merge)
Hiatus Kaiyote – Breathing Underwater – Single (Flying Buddah)
Pete Rock – One, Two, A Few More – Petestrumentals 2 (Mello Music)

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DJ O-Dub – It Began With Matthew Africa (Tribute Mix) – Soul-sides.com
24 Carat Black – Theme From 24-Carat Black – Jazz Dance Classics Vol. 1 (Luv’n’Haight)

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Warpaint – No Way Out – Single (Rought Trade)
Neu! – Weissensee – Neu! (UA)
Portico feat. Jono McCleery – Colour Fading – Living Fields (Ninja Tune)

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Rodrigo Amarante – Fall Asleep – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
Epic Soundtracks – Sleepy City – Change My Life (Bar/None)
Dom La Nena – Era Una Vez – Soyo (Six Degrees)
Billie Holiday – You Turned The Tables On Me – Solitude (Verve)

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

LightRain

Light Rain – Beautiful Friend
Light Rain – Rabekin
Light Rain – The Sword Dance

Apparently this was the first “belly-dance” album recorded by American artists, for trivia buffs. I’m not sure if I’m really “supposed” to like this music. It’s unabashedly on the “new-agey hippie” tip, but I can’t help but find the music beautiful and something that hits all the right notes in a sort of Game of Thrones background music kind of way. The slow burn of “Beautiful Friend” is just gorgeous, and as I mentioned previously, this album was probably one of the ones I listened to the most last year, just a great listen from start to finish.

Cheers,

Michael

EpicSoundtracks

Epic Soundtracks – Sleepy City

Generally in this section I highlight brand new releases, but every so often there’s a n older release that gets stuck in my mind and gets played again and again. In this case it was this 1996 album from Epic Soundtracks. Perhaps it’s because there’s been so many changes going on in my life over the past year or so, but this album would occassionally come into my mind. I was shocked to find that I no longer had a copy of it, but thankfully I was able to find one at Amoeba (the album never came out on vinyl, if it had I would have thrown it up in “Dig Deep”). Epic Soundtracks had a career worthy of his chosen name, playing drums in the Swell Maps, Crime & the City Solution and These Immortal Souls, before striking out on his own as a solo artist. Change My Life would turn out to be his final studio album before he died suddenly in his sleep in 1997. There a few songs on the record that I could do without, but when it’s good, it’s really really good. “Sleepy City” is a song that’s often been in head since hearing first almost 20 years ago. Even though I don’t live in London, late night walks with my dog often bring this song to mind, especially here in the Spring when it really does feel good to be in the city.

ride-band-2015

Quite possibly the only good thing about Coachella is that there always seems to be a beloved band from the 1980s or 1990s that returns to the stage for the festival. Even better, these bands often play shows in the LA area in the weeks around Coachella. This year that band is Ride, one of the crown jewels of the British shoegaze movement (such that it was a movement), and certainly one of my favorite bands from that period of time (along with Swervedriver, of course). Ride will be playing a “localchella” show here in LA on Wednesday April 8th, if you’d like to attend courtesy of Melting Pot, e-mail me TODAY (April 6th) via michael[at]meltingpotblog.com by 5pm!!!

I think “Leave Them All Behind” might have been the first song that I heard that I associated with Shoegaze and it’s still an epic listening experience, full of all the things that make Ride special.

Hearing Ride’s version of “How Does It Feel To Feel” eventually led me to discover the Creation, who recorded the original. I love both versions, but Ride’s version has a bit more of the hazy lazy to it that I do adore.


The next to last album from Ride produced my favorite song from the band, Birdman. While I can’t be sure, I feel like there’s a likely influence from McDonald & Giles song of the same title, though the sound is very different between the two songs. I’ve always loved the opening, perhaps my favorite intro of the 1990s.

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Tonight there’s a little shindig to celebrate the vinyl release of Nedelle Torrisi’s latest and greatest, Advice From Paradise. She’ll be featuring a brand new band backing her, featuring Bart Davenport on guitar. LA Takedown will also be sharing the bill and yours truly will be spinning some tunes, mostly jazz soul and soulful jazz, at the star, in between, and to close the night. Swing by if you’re out and about and looking for the right kind of good time!

Here’s the most recent video Nedelle has produced, in this case featuring her boyfriend Aaron from the LA band Babes:

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It was an absolute joy to have Rodrigo Amarante return to our studios at KPFK, just ahead of a recent show in Los Angeles. As I’ve mentioned numerous times before, Amarante is one of my absolute favorite contemporary artists, with a sound and style that touches my soul. In this interview, we dig a little deeper into his experience recording his first solo album, Cavalo, and also talk a bit about how performing this album, on stage, around the country and around the world has shaped his sensibilities regarding this music, the first that fully and solely carries his name. Rodrigo performs three more songs from the album, “Tardei” “Hourglass” and “Irene” and also sang a beautiful little lullaby on KPFK’s very own grand piano, “Fall Asleep.” I hope you cherish this as much as I did in putting it together. Obrigado Rodrigo!

Rodrigo Amarante on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 03-24-2015

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End of the month and so during the first hour we were all on vinyl, with a surprising number of contemporary releases, from local artists Nedelle Torrisi and Baast, as well as recent release from Frisco’s the Sandwitches, who should have a new album on the horizon. In the second hour we have a return engagement from Rodrigo Amarante, who was our guest last Summer and blesses us again with his presence and all the beauty that comes from that voice and his guitar (plus a lullaby on piano, separate post to follow).

Melting Pot on KPFK #192: 1st Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #192: 2nd Hour

UOA

Universal Order Of Armageddon – Visible Distance
Universal Order Of Armageddon – Stepping Softly Into
Universal Order Of Armageddon – No Longer Stranger

Since 95% of the music on this blog tends to be funky, soulful or soulfully psychedelic, this might seem like an odd choice. But longtime readers (and anyone who just happened to pay attention last year’s tribute to Double Nickels On The Dime) know that I have a deep love and appreciation for the punk rock. The Universal Order Of Armageddon, along with the Nation of Ulysses, is a band that I might have had a chance to see during my youth in Atlanta, but regrettably, I never saw live. Like Ulysses, the band was an elemental force in the studio and on stage. Switch Is Down is perhaps their finest moment, and for my money is the best example of post-hardcore music. Every single element of this band just killed. Tonie Joy’s massive walls of feedback on guitar, the booming thunder of Scott Malat’s bass, the esoteric ramblings and screams of Colin Seven and more than anything else, the hard as hell drums of Brooks Headley. “Stepping Softly Into” is one of my all-time favorite songs from this period of time and something that I’ve frankly surprised has never ended up in a film. Perhaps an even bigger surprise is that Brooks Headley eventually left the music scene all-together and became a pastry chef in NYC. Hearing this music, I’m not sure anyone would have seen that coming. The band got back together for some shows a couple of years ago with hopes that they might record, since it was clear they’d lost none of their power. For now that remains a dream, but no matter the future, the past was searingly bright and will never be forgotten.

Cheers,

Michael

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PRhyme – To Me To You

LA’s Adrian Younge is really enjoying a charmed life right now. Most artists would have been happy to have done a project like Black Dynamite (both the film and cartoon soudntracks, put together by AY), but then to follow that with collaborations with William Hart of the Delfonics and Ghostface Killah of Wu-Tang, all while having Jay-Z sample two of your songs! That’s the stuff of legend. The legend grows now with this project, PRhyme, which features Royce Da 5’9″ and DJ Premier and every single bit of music coming from samples built off of Younge’s music. If an upcoming gig featuring Laetitia Sadier of Stereolab is an indication, Younge might only be getting started here in 2015. Charmed life indeed. “To Me To You” also features Jay Electronica and uses my favorite song from There’s Something About April, “It’s Me” as the foundation. 2015 is really shaping up to be a GREAT year for Hip-Hop!

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March 22nd was our first show of Spring, and as is our tradition, it meant we started things off with Biz Markie’s legendary ode to the season of change, renewal and hope, “Spring Again.” More than a few new tunes, plus some classics, you know…all you expect from Melting Pot on KPFK. Enjoy!

Melting Pot on KPFK #191: 1st Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #191: 2nd Hour

BroMcDuff

Brother Jack McDuff – Come And Carry Me Home
Brother Jack McDuff – Seven Keys For Seven Doors
Brother Jack McDuff – Yellow Wednesday

The last time I ran into this record was over 15 years ago, at the Jazz Record Mart in Chicago, though I recently picked up another copy from Atomic in Burbank. Back in the day, I’d heard “Hunk O’ Funk” on a Blue Note compilation that was one of the first to really get me searching for Jazz-Funk on the label. I was surprised when I heard the album and few of the tracks had that same kind of “Super-funk” feel. Over the years I’ve grown to appreciate those other songs, which have a completely different style and sound to virtually everything else in the Brother Jack catalog. Part of that might be because more than other session of his, this one has the feel of being a “hired gun” session, with McDuff doing his thing with a host of British musicians, uncredited on the original album. I’m not sure the story behind this album, but the music on it, from the pensive “Come and Carry Me Home” to the almost Axelrodian “Seven Keys For Seven Doors” and “Yellow Wednesday” is some of my favorite from this long time soulful organist.

Cheers,

Michael

Ibeyi

Ibeyi – Faithful

I’ve actually just left seeing Ibeyi perform here in Los Angeles, at the Masonic Lodge over at the Hollywood Forever cemetery. If you’ve had the chance to hear these twins perform, hearing them live is even better. Channeling not only the spirit of their personal family lineage (their father was a percussionist with the Buena Vista Social Club in Cuba), but even deeper ones associated with Yoruban culture in Cuba and Africa, and combining them with decidedly 21st century sounds and technology, they have created a unique style all their own. The EP they released in 2014 only gave us a taste, the full-length record feels like more of a main course, but the great pleasure is from seeing these two women perform together on stage. If you have the chance, make sure to do all you can to bear witness…absolutely one of the strongest contenders thus far for record of the year.

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