Classic Melting Pot


Hiatus Kaiyote – Nakamarra

So…as you might have noticed I’ve been away for most of the month of August, both here and on the air at KPFK. KPFK was planned, this was not and it has to do with the blur that has been this month of August with tons of personal things going on and the fact that my laptop basically gave up on me part way through the month. Now that summer is almost over, another school year has just begun and I’m about to return to the KPFK airwaves, it should be back to business as usual here on the blog (strangely though August has been the most visited month in the blog’s history…perhaps I should go away more often?).

I return here with a track that I first heard when Morgan Rhodes filled in for me a few weeks ago. Driving around LA (a bit surreal listening to your own show when you’re not on it) I became increasingly enamored with the song she was playing. At first I thought it might have been some obscure track from the Soulqarians with Badu on vocals, but the singer did things that Badu doesn’t and perhaps can’t. The phrasing was a bit more left of center than I’d expect from her and so I knew that I had a real mystery on my hands. At the break Morgan solved it for me saying the band was Hiatus Kaiyote, they were from Australia and they’d just played a show in LA at the Bootleg Theater. While I was kicking myself for missing the show (and for being pretty late on this train, since AntVala and other KCRW’ers had been up on it since last year!) I was happy to learn that the record from the group had been released by Salaam Remi’s label Flying Buddah earlier in the summer. Since that first moment I’ve been crushing pretty hard on this song, a late challenger for the song of the summer for me. If you haven’t heard it yet, welcome to your latest musical crush as well and look for big things from this group in the near future.

…for the Dreamer

August 28th, 2013


Martin Luther King, Jr. – “I Have A Dream” – August 28, 1963


Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Seasons
Rahsaan Roland Kirk – Saxophone Concerto

Time got away from me so this is a belated birthday post for our patron saint here at Melting Pot. Prepare Thyself To Deal With A Miracle comes from what is clearly a favorite period of Rahsaan’s work (since the other two prior records I’ve posted here, Bright Moments and Blacknuss, are from this same time frame). The record stands in fairly stark contrast to other albums from this period of time in that there is very little soul or funk influence in the playing. “Miracle” finds Rahsaan engrossed in a very personal style that borders on what we generally describe these days as Spiritual Jazz. The album also contains two of my favorite Rahsaan compositions, though for very different reasons.

“Seasons” begins with Rahsaan playing both flute and nose flute simultaneously before moving into what I feel is one of the most lovely and meditative pieces of music I’ve ever heard. Truly gorgeous in every possible meaning of the word. A few years ago a live performance of “Seasons” was included on the highly recommended Live at Montreux video. If you never seen it before, or have never seen Rahsaan perform, you need to watch this:

“Saxophone Concerto” stands as one of the greatest compositions and bravura performances from Rahsaan. The track takes up the entire second side of the album, split into three parts, “Saxophone Miracle,” “”One Breath Beyond,” and “Dance Of Revolution,” and was recorded without a single over-dub. Additionally, Rahsaan employs his circular breathing techniques on this song, which makes it essentially a 20 minute saxophone solo. It’s perhaps Rahsaan’s most well-realized example of “Black Classical Music” and fairly stunning the first time you hear it. Proof positive that despite all of the theatrics (which personally were always necessary in connection with producing a singular sound) Rahsaan’s talents as a soloist were unparalled in the music world.




Soundsci – Understand The Message

Since it’s based off of samples from the recent “Don’t Sell Your Soul” anthology of the music of Mike James Kirkland, there’s virtually no way for me to dislike this project. Soundsci features an international cast of characters (including Audessey, who used to be in famed ATL underground crew Mass Influence) and for Soundsational they’ve based every song off of originals from Mike & the Censations. As a full-length record, truthfully, it’s a bit hit and miss. But when it hits, it hits HARD. “Understand The Message” samples the horns from “Don’t Sell Your Soul” to great effect and gives you a sense of what I mean.


Just because I’m not on the air doesn’t mean that I can’t hook y’all up with some tickets. The Heavy have been a personal fave for quite sometime. The band has stuck true to their roots even while delivering a couple of “hits” and breaking out, especially via TV and Film placement of their music. They always deliver when performing live and if you dig their sound, you can see it live and direct at the Fonda Theatre this Thursday August 8th! All you have to do is e-mail me at michael[at] by Wednesday 5pm!

If you need a taste of what’s in store, here they are performing their “hit” “How You Like Me Now?” over at LA’s the El Rey:

And “Short Change Hero” live in Cologne, Germany:

And “What Makes A Good Man” live on Craig Ferguson’s Late Night Show:

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