Melting Pot

DaleWarren2

For several months I’ve been planning this show, knowing that for #200 I wanted to highlight a favorite artist, as with the Dirty Three for show #100, and though this time I’d take a look back and feature an artist that I love but might be a bit unsung or under-appreciated. Ultimately I settled on highlighting the music of Dale Ossman Warren, perhaps best known as the mind behind the 24-Carat Black. Warren should be seen as a musical genius and one of the great talents of the era, but there is relatively little publicly known about the man and his methods. What we do have are a wealth of recordings that feature Warren as a writer, arranger, producer, engineer or musician.

With the 24 Carat Black recordings as a guide, in the first hour of the program I tried to choose songs that seemed to have been clearly touched by Warren’s hand. Some of them are well known, such as his first Stax related collaboration with Isaac Hayes, “Walk On By,” others are less well-known but just as amazing, such as the Precisions “What I Want,” which has been on repeat since I tracked it down recently. I also highlight several tracks from the “lost” album that the Numero group issued in 2009. With the few tracks that they were able to salvage, the mind boggles at the music Dale Warren might have been able to create given a full budget or perhaps a different period of time.

In the second hour we have the best statement of Warren’s vision, the 1973 album Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth, played from start to finish. I’m not sure why I hadn’t thought to play that whole album on the air until now, but I’m glad that I got to do it this past Sunday, on our last show on Sunday’s before we move to Fridays at 8pm this week. Big thanks to Rob Sevier of Numero Group and Oliver Wang of Soul-Sides.com for help tracking down a few of the tracks, eternal thanks to Matthew Africa (RIP) for turning me and others onto this music, and of course to the maestro himself Dale Warren, for leaving such a rich musical legacy.

Melting Pot on KPFK #200: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #200: Second Hour

Playlist: 06-21-2015
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

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Isaac Hayes – Walk On By – 7” (Stax)
The 24 Carat Black – Best of Good Love Gone – Gone: The Promises Of Yesterday (Numero)
David Porter – I’m Afraid The Masquerade Is Over – Victim Of The Joke?: An Opera (Enterprise)
Isaac Hayes – Ike’s Mood I – …To Be Continued (Enterprise)

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The 24 Carat Black – I Began To Weep – Gone: The Promises Of Yesterday (Numero)
John Kasandra – The Other Brother/We Gotta Go On – The True Genius (Respect)
The Mad Lads – Gone, The Promises Of Yesterday – A New Beginning (Volt)
Strings’n’Things – Charge! – 7” (Jet Set)

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The Embraceables – Here I Go – 7” (Sidra)
Gloria Ann Taylor – World That’s Not Real – 7” (Selector Sound)
The Precisions – What I Want – 7” (Drew)
The 24 Carat Black – I’ll Never Let You Go – Gone: The Promises Of Yesterday (Numero)

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The 24 Carat Black – Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth (Enterprise)

Kasandra

John Kasandra – Down Home Ups/Good Whiskey & Bad Women
John Kasandra – The Other Brother / We Gotta Go On
John Kasandra – You Can Go Now

On Sunday, I’ll be doing my 200th show on the KPFK airwaves, and my last on Sundays before moving to Fridays from 8-10pm on June 26th and will spend those two hours highlighting some of the music associated with Dale Ossman Warren. Warren spend a number of years producing, writing and arranging songs for Motown, Shrine, Sidra, Drew and others before finding a home on Stax. At Stax he worked on a number of classic albums, particularly with Isaac Hayes, David Porter, and his own project, The 24-Carat Black.

As I’ve been prepping this tribute (which will feature, from start to finish, the “Ghetto: Misfortune’s Wealth” album in the second hour Sunday at 5pm), I’ve been digging into a number of projects that Warren was associated with, but that I hadn’t heard before. This album from John Kasandra is an especially interesting one, as it comes a year before the concept album “Ghetto.” It’s clear, since Warren produced, engineered, arranged & conducted the music for the album, that this album carries much of his vision.

What’s interesting to me is how this album fits in his discography, coming just before the 1973 masterpiece. The album doesn’t necessarily sound like the 24-Carat Black project, but there are elements that show that Warren was working through some things that would later on show up on that album. This is clearest on the intro to the monologue “The Other Brother.” As the female singers sing, “We Gotta To Go On, We Gotta Keep On Moving Along” you hear an electric piano playing the same theme that would later show up as a recurrent theme on the “Ghetto” album. The sparse and stark style of the horns and drums also share similarities with the sound of that underground classic.

It is a shame that Warren wasn’t able to keep moving along with his vision and continue to record more during this very furtive period of time, with Stax records folding in just a few years after these records were recorded. But we should be glad that we have all of these examples of quality (and especially glad that Numero was able to save some tracks from the “lost” album from the 24-Carat Black a few years ago). I’m thankful to have found this music and to be able to share it with you here and on the radio.

Cheers,

Michael

Russo

Russo Passopusso – Flor De Plastico

This album got on my radar courtesy of former KALX DJ Kitty, who moved from the Bay Area to Bahia a while ago and mentioned this album as one of her favorite recent releases from Brasil. The busy-ness of the end of the semester distracting me from singing it’s praises and playing it more often on the radio show, but I’ll be making up for it now. I don’t know very much about Russo Passopusso, other than he has a fantastic name and he blends together the last 40 years of Brazilian music seamlessly, with shades of Samba Funk, Tropicalia, Soul Negro and more. Paraíso Da Miragem, sounds like a Brazilian version of my show, from song to song, many different styles but all soulful. “Flor De Plastico” might be my favorite song, with it’s late 1970s slower funk, reminiscent of Tim Maia’s later material. If you’re like me and you’re coming in a little late on this fabulous album, don’t fret…you can download the whole thing from Russo Passopusso’s website!

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Number one thing to mention is that this past Sunday’s show will be the next to last Sunday we’re on the air on KPFK. Starting June 26th, we’ll relocate to Fridays from 8-10pm. Very little will change in terms of the show, though being on at that time does change my mood and will likely change the mood of the show as well. Good amount of new music in the first hour, including more from Kamasi Washington, Jones, The Sandwitches and an artist from Brasil I’ve been meaning to share for a while Russo Passopusso. Our second hour belongs to Ornette Coleman, and some of my favorite songs from the earliest period of Coleman’s career, in some ways the most innovative period as well. Next Sunday, our last Sunday, will be our 200th show on KPFK, we’ll be doing a special show (similar to how for our 100th show we focused only on the Dirty Three) focused on the music of Dale Warren, especially his 1960s & 1970s legendary work with Isaac Hayes, Gloria Ann Taylor and the 24-Carat Black!

Melting Pot on KPFK #199: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #199: Second Hour

Playlist: 06-14-2015
Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

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Dale Warren & the Wattstax ’72 Orchestra – Salvation Symphony – Wattstax: The Living Word (Stax)
Kamasi Washington – The Rhythm Changes – The Epic (Brainfeeder)
Gal Costa – Mamae, Coragem – Tropicalia (Philips)
Jones – You – Indulge EP (37 Adventures)

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The Sandwitches – Miggy – Our Toast (Empty Cellar)
Spain – You Were Meant For Me – I Believe (Restless)
Annabel (Lee) – Alone – By The Sea…And Other Solitary Places (Ninja Tune)

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Russo Passopusso – Relogio – Paraiso Da Miragem (Self-Released)
Gil Scott-Heron – Alien (Hold On To Your Dream) – Nothing New (XL)
Terry Kath + Dusty Rhodes, The American Dream – Tell Me (Remix) – Electra Glide In Blue (United Artists)

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Ornette Coleman – Free – Change Of The Century (Atlantic)
Ornette Coleman – Focus On Sanity – The Shape Of Jazz To Come (Atlantic)
Ornette Coleman – Una Muy Bonita – Change Of The Century (Atlantic)

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Ornette Coleman – First Take (Free Jazz) – Twins (Atlantic)

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Ornette Coleman – Beauty Is A Rare Thing – This Is Our Music (Atlantic)
Ornette Coleman – Embraceable You – This Is Our Music (Atlantic)
Ornette Coleman – Lonely Woman – The Shape Of Jazz To Come (Atlantic)

Rashida

Jon Lucien – Would You Believe Me
Jon Lucien – Rashida
Jon Lucien – Luella

When you spend a lot of time (and money) on tracking down rare records, you sometimes will skip right over more well-known and easier to find things, precisely because they are well-known and easier to find. That was the case with me and this record for years. At some point in passing I’m sure I had heard “Rashida,” but because I always seemed to see this record around, and rarely for more than $5, I didn’t feel any burning need to add it to my collection. Earlier in the Spring I had a bout of record therapy that largely entailed me tracking down more classic, well known records (mostly Jazz from Mingus, Coltrane and the like) that everyone should have and that are great listening experiences. It was around that time that I picked this record up finally and I’m truly glad that I did.

Lucien’s sound strikes me as a kind of cross between Leon Thomas, Eugene McDaniels and Jorge Ben, with an emphasis on rhythmic wordless singing anchored often by acoustic guitar around soulful backing. “Rashida” is a classic, beautifully constructed and worthy of it’s reputation. It was the other songs that really surprised me, especially “Luella” and “Would You Believe Me,” that have a funkier approach that is right in my wheelhouse. Though this section, especially after 5+ years, is generally reserved for out-of-print and hard-to-find records, I think you’ll see me “Dig Deep” on other perhaps under-appreciated classics like this, just to keep reminding us just how good REALLY good music is.

Cheers,

Michael

SandToast

The Sandwitches – Play It Again Dick

I’ve raved and raved about my love for The Sandwitches in the past, their session back in 2011 remains one of my favorites that we’ve done in the five years I’ve been on the air at KPFK. With the release of their third full-length release, Our Toast, we also learned that the band is calling it quits and this will be the final record for the group. This is especially saddening as Our Toast represents the best recorded work from a band that has just gotten better and better and better with each successive album. The girls will continue to play music, in each of their respective projects, Grace Sings Sludge, Pruno Truman and Roxanne Roxanne, but the sound they made together was really something special. “Play It Again Dick” might stand as a signature tune from the group, featuring all the elements that endeared them to all who heard them and listened, slight country feel to Roxanne’s drumming, the twin harmonies where, in this case, Heidi sings in a lower register in between Grace’s lines and those mountains of lovely reverb on those twin guitars. Every time Grace belts out that “Honey aren’t you glad like me,” at the end it sends shivers up and down my spine. I can all but guarantee that this will be one of my favorite songs of 2015, and definitely one of the best records of the year.

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5 Years…that’s pretty much as long as I’ve been at any of the individual stations I’ve worked at in my radio career. Part of the whole appeal of moving from KCRW to KPFK was to be able to have 100% control of the show and be able to bring in guests for interviews, DJ sets and performances. Over the past 5 years there have been some incredible sessions, last Sunday’s show highlights all of the musicians who performed on our show over these first 5 years. I also attempted to incorporate a little bit of some of the stellar guest DJ sets that we’ve had too, though with all of this music, there wasn’t much of a chance to incorporate many of the interviews themselves. It’s been a great ride, and one that I hope will continue for many more years to come. Each and every interview, Guest DJ set and performance is archived here on this website under the “Be Our Guest” category. You can get a taste for each one from this show, but there’s so much more music waiting for you if you missed them the first time around.

Melting Pot on KPFK #198: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #198: Second Hour

Melting Pot’s 5 Year Anniversary:
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – 7” (Stax)

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Pacha Massive – Your Love – Recorded Live At KPFK: 08-01-2010
Francoiz Breut – Les Jounes Pousses – Recorded Live At KPFK: 09-29-2010
Quadron – Untitled – Recorded Live At KPFK: 10-29-2010
Belleruche – Clockwatching – Recorded Live At KPFK: 11-29-2010
La Sera – Never Come Around – Recorded Live At KPFK: 01-28-2011
DJ Lengua – Guest DJ Set (Excerpt) – Recorded Live At KPFK: 08-28-2011

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Bing Ji Ling – Like We Used To Do – Recorded Live At KPFK: 04-27-2011
Corin Tucker – 1,000 Years – Recorded Live At KPFK: 07-08-2011
Pollyn – Sometimes You Just Know – Recorded Live At KPFK: 07-08-2011
Boogaloo Assassins – No, No, No – Recorded Live At KPFK: 10-12-2011
The Sandwitches – My Heart Does Swell – Recorded Live At KPFK: 11-02-2011
DJ Spinna – Guest DJ Set (Excerpt) – Recorded Live At KPFK: 11-10-2012

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Barry Adamson – People – Recorded Live At KPFK: 07-08-2011
Spain – Untitled No. 1 – Recorded Live At KPFK: 04-16-2012
Chicano Batman – Itotiani – Recorded Live At KPFK: 07-16-2012
Kenny Dope – Guest DJ Set (Excerpt) – Recorded Live At KPFK: 04-14-2013

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Hot 8 Brass Band – Rock With The Hot 8 – Recorded Live At KPFK: 02-04-2013
Lady – Money – Recorded Live At KPFK: 04-17-2013
KING – Supernatural – Recorded Live At KPFK: 04-26-2013
Dom La Nena – Anjo Gabriel – Recorded Live At KPFK: 05-31-2013
Ruben Molina – Guest DJ Set (Excerpt) – Recorded Live At KPFK: 07-28-2013

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The Summer Twins – I’m No Good – Recorded Live At KPFK: 06-17-2013
Matthew Sweet – Time Capsule – Recorded Live At KPFK: 07-10-2013
Hiatus Kaiyote – Lace Skull – Recorded Live At KPFK: 10-29-2013
Bart Davenport – Every Little Step – Recorded Live At KPFK: 04-18-2014
Natasha Diggs – Guest DJ Set (Excerpt) – Recorded Live At KPFK: 07-12-2014

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Rodrigo Amarante – The Ribbon – Recorded Live At KPFK: 06-13-2014
Zara McFarlane – Open Heart – Recorded Live At KPFK: 06-16-2014
Charnett Moffet – Spirit of Sound – Recorded Live At KPFK: 07-10-2014
Jungle Fire – Tropicoso – Recorded Live At KPFK: 09-24-2014

Sod2

Sod – Pushie
Sod – House Rules
Sod – Rock’n’Roll Express

Picked this up at a (fairly) recent trip to Atomic in Burbank. SOD were a horn-rock band originally out of the Vegas area. Their debut album, simply titled SOD, begins with a massive drum break that makes it a prized possession for those who collect such things. Breakdowns aside, I think both of the records are pretty comparable, solidly played…a lot of rock dudes don’t mess with “Horn-rock” but for me, this is a horn-rock album for the whole family.

“Pushie” takes a little while to get started, but once it does it rocks along just fine. As an added bonus there’s a nice “Funk #49″ inspired drum break down. “House Rules” has a really slinky funky groove from the guitar that will have your head nodding. David Axelrod is credited with producing this album, though it doesn’t necessarily have any of his trademark style, he does (in comparison with the first record, that I’m still trying to track down) give the band a warmer feel.

On a side note, that cover art, which looks like something pulled from a Twilight Zone or X-files episode, has got to be one of the most disturbing and unsettling ones I’ve ever seen.

Cheers,

Michael

JGPB

Joanna Gruesome – Psykick Espionage

As it should have been clear when they first showed up on my radar, Cardiff’s Joanna Gruesome was one of my favorite musical crushes of last year. When I found out they had another full-length record in the pipe I was over-joyed, but that joy came with the bittersweet news that singer Alanna McArdle would be leaving the band. Alanna, along with Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves, emerged over the last couple years as a real strident voice for issues of gender equity and so her loss is a major one, not just for the band, but for all of indie-rockdom. But the reasons are the right ones. As Alanna described in her statement:

“Lately, my mental health problems have become a lot worse and I’ve gone through a pretty shitty time. I’ve realised I need to actually take some time out to focus on some kind of ‘recovery’, so I won’t be singing in Joanna Gruesome anymore. I hate to sound cheesy but the time I had in jgro was life-changing. I made friends with so many amazing people, had the chance to play with some of my favourite bands, went to places I’d never been before (metaphysically and geographically) and pissed off a lot of men in the process. I am really proud of everything I’ve done with the band, especially Peanut Butter, and I think we’ve made some really great records. Thanks to everyone who ever put up with me on tour, and anyone who stopped any assholes from hurting other people at our shows xo”

So, Peanut Butter acts as (perhaps) a swan song for the short, brilliant career of Alanna McArdle, but it’s nice that she goes out with a blaze of glory and that Joanna Gruesome has already re-grouped added new members and will continue to burn brightly in their own way.

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We took a pause to the fundraising for the Memorial Day weekend and I got to play y’all some tunes and revel in the Golden State Warriors defeating the Houston Rockets, thanks to Lil’ B’s curse. Loads of new tunes and mixed with love and care from yours truly. Enjoy!

Melting Pot on KPFK #197: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #197: Second Hour

Playlist: 05-24-2015
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)
Gang Starr – Just To Get A Rep – Mass Appeal (Virgin/EMI)
Algodon Egipcio – Helio (Fair Ohs Cover) – Canta (Lefse)
Emily King – The Animals – Single (Self-released)
Nedelle Torrisi – Psychic Returns – Nedelle Torrisi (Ethereal Sequence/Drag City)
Nina Simone – Either Way I Lose – Wild Is The Wind (Philips)

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The Sandwitches – Nothing But Love – Our Toast (Empty Cellar)
Annabel (Lee) – Find Me – By The Sea…And Other Solitary Places (Ninja Tune)
Moses Sumney – Seeds – Single (Self-released)
Oddisee Belong To The World – The Good Fight (Mello Music)

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Joanna Gruesome – Honestly Do Yr Worst – Peanut Butter (Slumberland)
The Nation Of Ulysses – A Kid Who Tells On Another Kid Is A Dead Kid – 13 Point Program to Destroy America (Dischord)
Chico Trujillo – Malgeniosa – Reina De Todas Las Fiestas (Barbes)
Saun & Starr – Sunshine – Look Closer (Daptone)
Platinum Pied Pipers feat. Karma Stewart – On A Cloud – Abundance (Ubiquity)

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Lil B feat. 9th Wonder, Phonte and Jean Grae – Base For Your Face – Single (Self-Released)
David Axelrod – Holy Are You (Instrumental) – The Warner/Reprise Sessions (Warner UK)
Hiatus Kaiyote – Building A Ladder – Choose Your Weapon (Flying Buddah)
Andreya Triana – Heart In My Hands – Giants (Ninja Tune)

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Kamasi Washington – Chang Of The Guard – The Epic (Brainfeeder)
Nosaj Thing – Let You – Fated (Innovative Leisure)
Curren$y & Freddie Gibbs – Fetti – Welcome To Los Santos (Mass Appeal/Rockstar)

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Ghostface Killah feat. Raekwon – Return Of The Savage – Twelve Reasons To Die II (Linear Labs)
Bilal – Satellites – In Another Life (Purpose Music)
Gil Scott-Heron – Back Home – Winter In America (Strata East)
Ensemble Al-Salaam – Peace – The Sojourner (Strata East)

SherlockHolmes

Carl Sherlock Holmes – Black Bag
Carl Sherlock Holmes – Better Think It Over
Carl Sherlock Holmes – Your Game
Carl Sherlock Holmes – It Ain’t Right

Was taking a look at my shelves, wondering what I was going to put up here as I caught up with posts, and realized to my shock and horror that I hadn’t put this record up here. I’m not sure, but this might be the rarest record I own, or at least one of the ones that cost me the most to track down. For years I’ve sung the praises of “Black Bag,” ever since it ended up on a Luv’n’Haight collection it’s been a favorite of mine for it’s raw and heavy funk. I’d known about this record since then, but never saw it, never expected to see it. With all the turmoil in my life over the last couple of years I’ve done a lot of record therapy and this was a record that when I saw a copy available online, I just said “fuck it” and got it.

“Black Bag,” “Investigation,” and “Modesa” were already well known to me, though when I heard them separately I thought they were from different records. Though unfortunately a bit short with only 8 songs, “Investigation No. 1″ covers a lot of territory. The thing that I was most pleasantly surprised by were the slower and sweeter soul songs, including a version “Close To You” and “Better Think It Over,” shared above. Occasionally super rare records don’t live up to their hype, many of them really are just “one-trackers,” and you immediately feel buyer’s remorse after that initial euphoria. This one has staying power and ain’t moving out of my collection until I’m done with this world.

Cheers,

Michael

SaunStarr

Saun & Starr – Sunshine

It’s rare that “back-up” singers are given the chance to shine in the spotlight, but Saun & Starr are able to do that here on their debut “Look Closer.” The duo have been Sharon Jones’ singing partners for many years and set, with the legendary Dap-Kings in tow, shows that both women have a style all their own and the singing chops to make a whole lot of more prominent singers jealous.

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Kamasi Washington – Malcolm’s Theme

By now I’ve had a few more weeks to spend with Kamasi Washington’s long awaited release, and perhaps the most appropriately titled record of the 21st century, The Epic, and my feelings for it haven’t changed much over that period of time. The Epic is finest Jazz recording of this new century. At three separate CDs (I don’t even know how many sides of vinyl this would end up being…8? 10???), 17 tracks and almost 3 hours in length, you could be excused for thinking that there must be some filler here, or some moments that drag or some tracks to skip…but there are none. What we have is an exceptionally thrilling piece of music, from start to finish, that encompasses the many different styles and moods that Kamasi and his group, The Next Step, augmented by strings and a choir, have been associated with over the last several years here in Los Angeles.

While The Epic has drawn some comparisons to the work of John Coltrane in his spiritual period, post “A Love Supreme” and Miles Davis’ fusion groups of the mid-1970s, I don’t really find those comparisons particularly apt. Instead, the artist whom Kamasi, with varied styles and sounds on this album, most reminds me of is Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Kirk was a true master of his many instruments and part of his mastery was the ability to play any style and any time, and to sound at home, whether it was New Orleans Dixieland or straight up Jazz-Funk. Kamasi has that similar chameleon ability, not only in the seamless way songs incorporate multiple genres, but in his playing itself. Whereas many contemporary saxophone players clearly worship at the altar of a single influence (generally John Coltrane), Kamasi’s solos flow from the sublime and softness of a Lester Young, to the fire and brimstone of Pharoah Sanders to the greasy soul of a Lou Donaldson or Rusty Bryant, without sounding directly like any of those masters. Such was the quality of Rahsaan Roland Kirk that made him beloved by so many, a quality that Kamasi also seems to be developing as his own legend grows. Another link to Rahsaan is the importance of dreams for his music, and the inspiration of dreams that compelled Kamasi to not break up this music into separate releases, but to group all 17 tracks together into a three part story.

In truth, the sound displayed on The Epic owes less to Rahsaan, than it does to the artist collectives of the 1970s, from here in Los Angeles with Horace Tapscott’s Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, to the spiritual and uplifting sounds of Mtume Umoja Ensemble, Billy Parker’s Fourth World and the Ensemble Al-Salaam. The Epic shares the adventurous sound of those artists, while not being solely anchored in the past. As with those groups, it’s highly likely that the ability of Kamasi to not be tied to a single sound or a signle definition of what his music could be is owed to the fact that he’s been able to record this album for the artist controlled Brainfeeder record label, at the behest of label head Flying Lotus. There’s a freedom within this album that you rarely see in contemporary jazz, a freedom to honor the past, but to push the artform into the future.

Given my particular tastes, it’s perhaps not surprising that I am most drawn to the songs that do seem to be most influenced or directly referencing the past, as is the case on the song chosen for this review, “Malcolm’s Theme,” a piece that serves as a fitting tribute here on the 90th anniversary of Malcolm X’s birth. Kamasi’s choice to have Patrice Quinn and Dwight Trible render Ossie Davis’ moving eulogy to Brother Malcolm into song, along with the rhythms provided by the band, take a piece that could have been elegiac and make it triumphant. Malcolm’s voice, interposed with the music, speaks to us, and remains relevant these 50 years since his murder. As the penultimate song on The Epic, “Malcolm’s Theme” serves as a reminder of the paths we have taken to arrive at the present, and of the work we still have ahead to create a future worthy of those who made it all possible. That future is made brighter by Kamasi Washington and the musicians who have given us a true blessing with the music on this album.

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{As you might have guessed, I’m taking a bit of a hiatus from the blog and radio show as I finish this semester’s grading. I’ll be back on May 19th, Malcolm X’s birthday, with a review of Kamasi’s new album. Until then enjoy the music!}

Had the pleasure of sitting down with Kamasi Washington this past week as the world finally gets to hear his stunning masterpiece, and winner for the most appropriate title in the history of history, The Epic, a 17 part, 172 minute tour-de-force. In our interview we talked about Kamasi’s musical upbringing here in Los Angeles, how he found his way to the saxophone and the collective of musicians and friends that make up his groups The Next Step and The West Coast Get Down. We also dig deep into the multiple stories of The Epic, including some insight into two of the songs that you’ll hear in the interview, “Henrietta Our Hero” and “Malcolm’s Theme.” There’s a very strong chance we’ll be able to welcome Kamasi back in the Summer, but until then, enjoy this full version of the interview (the version we played on air featured edited songs and focused solely on the new album) and make sure to get this album as soon as you can when it is released tomorrow!

Kamasi Washington Interview on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 04-29-2015

{If you’re here in Los Angeles, you still have time to catch what should be an epic night of music at the Regent Theater in DTLA, as Kamasi, his 11 piece ensemble, The Next Step, along with an 8 piece string section, a 7 piece choir and many special guests, will grace the stage to perform music from The Epic, in celebration of it’s release. Tickets are still available at this moment and this is one show you DO NOT want to miss!!!}

ADS - The Epic - 5x5 - v2

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Not to toot my own horn or nothing, but this is one of the best shows we’ve done here in 2015. Nothing to do with me really, it’s the music, and it kind of dawned on me all of the sudden that virtually all of the new releases on this week’s show are all strong contenders for the end of year “Best Of” special. I know it’s only May, but I have a good sense for these things, so don’t be surprised when Annabel (Lee), Nicole Willis & the Soul Investigators, Nosaj Thing, The Sandwitches, Oddisee, and Haitus Kaiyote show in that list. Those artists are featured, along with classic material from the Flamin’ Groovies, Outkast, The Ensemble Al-Salaam and James Brown, on what would have been his 82nd birthday. The second hour is dedicated to an artist who might just have put out the best release of the year, Kamasi Washington, who is about to release his 3-part 172 minute masterpiece “The Epic.” The interview here is edited for airplay, there’ll be a separate post soon with the full version. If you’re in LA and you got the time, make sure to hustle down to the Regent tonight for the release show celebration featuring Kamasi and essentially every player of consequence in the Los Angeles area. This is likely to be the last Melting Pot for a while, as KPFK is going into fundraiser mode for the next month and I’ve got a mountain of grading to do…until we meet again, enjoy the show!

Melting Pot on KPFK #196: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #196: Second Hour

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