Classic Melting Pot


Next Wednesday, on the eve of old Hallow’s eve, Australia’s Haitus Kaiyote will be here in Los Angeles, performing at the Skirball Cultural Center along with Moses Sumney and DJ’s Jeremy Sole and Wisacre of the Lift. Haitus Kaiyote has been one of my favorite discoveries of the year after (finally) hearing their debut Tawk Tomahawk, which the band self-released in 2012, garnering attention from all kinds of folks, until it was given a proper release this year on producer Salaam Remi’s Flying Buddah label. Like Little Dragon and Quadron before them, Kaiyote is part of an international wave of soul music over the last few years and with singer/guitarist Nai Palm’s penchant for interesting fashion, I’m sure this Halloween themed show will be memorable indeed. If you want a chance to win tickets, e-mail me at michael[at] by Tuesday 12noon for your chance to win…if we’re lucky we might just have an interview/performance for you all when Melting Pot returns to the KPFK airwaves November 3rd!

As I’ve mentioned before, “Nakamarra” is one of my favorite songs of the year, might even end up being my favorite song of the year, so if you haven’t heard it…just listen:

One of the things that’s a little frustrating about the EP, similar to the music of Flying Lotus, is how many of the songs clock in at only a minute or so, however it seems live that these songs are performed quite differently, here’s an example with “Boom Child”:

Here’s another video of the band, one of a song that’s not on the debut, “Jekyll” that shows even more of a range for the group and much stronger jazz influences than even I had
realized before:


Billy Harper – Soulfully I Love You/Black Spiritual Of Love
Billy Harper – Capra Black
Billy Harper – Cry Of Hunger

Today would have been Matthew Africa’s 42nd birthday and over the last month or so, from the anniversary of his death to today, he’s been on my mind. As I’ve said before, Matthew had a profound effect on my taste in music and to honor him I’ve chosen to post something on his birthday each year that reminds me of him. This year I’ve chosen this album from Billy Harper. Capra Black is an album that I first encountered in the amazing library at WORT in Madison, WI. WORT had an insane amount of albums from the Strata East label, an artist controlled label in the 1970s that released just incredible spiritual, funky and avant-garde jazz. This album above all the incredible releases on the label remains my favorite. Billy Harper’s tenor saxophone playing, like so many modern players, owes a great debt to Coltrane, but there’s always been something about Harper’s sound, how big and beautiful it is, that sets him apart from others who were clearly touched by Trane.

Harper’s album In Europe was one of the first albums we highlighted here at Melting Pot, and was something that inspired Matthew to post more of Harper’s music on his own blog.  Matthew had this to say about discovering Harper’s music:

Saxophonist Billy Harper is maybe my favorite living jazz player.  I first discovered his music thanks to Ubiquity’s Andrew Jervis, who tipped me to Harper’s Black Saint back in the early 90s. Hearing that album for the first time, I was overwhelmed. It’s incredibly powerful music, forceful in its beauty, kind of like Coltrane’s “Alabama” stretched to album length.

MAtthewAfricaThis album finds him with one of Trane’s legendary sidemen, Elvin Jones, in addition to Reggie Workman, George Cables, Julian Priester, Jimmy Owens and Billy Cobham. The sound, particularly when augmented by a quintet of vocals that featured Gene McDaniels, is simply out of this world.  If you’ve never heard this album, you should expect to be overwhelmed because it’s a rare experience to hear music this engrossing and this exceptional.  When I hear that soaring, searing and soulful saxophone from Harper, it reminds me of Matthew, how much he is missed and how lucky I was to have known him.

Peace be with you,



Gregory Porter – Liquid Spirit

Whew! I’m not sure how I slept on Gregory Porter, but I’m thankful I caught up, more or less in time for his debut Blue Note release (third full-length overall since 2011), Liquid Spirit. Dude sounds like the love child of Ray Charles and Les McCann as you’ll hear on the title cut. Don’t make my mistake…don’t sleep on Mr. Porter!


I wish I could say that this was a successful fundraising show, but it wasn’t, we didn’t come close to our goals and only had 1 call in the entire second hour, which was truly a shame because it had been dedicated to Sly & the Family Stone. At some point in the near future I’m going to turn to the listeners of Melting Pot and KPFK to find out how we can better serve you and get your support. I know we raise funds a lot on KPFK, but after three years I keep expecting that “this drive” things will be different. We’ll be back on the air with new music and hopefully some guests in a couple weeks, but until we’re able to do our part fully, looks like we’ll be sitting out these fundraisers. To those of you who do support the show and KPFK, a hundred thousand thank yous…to the rest of you, I do thank you for listening.

Melting Pot on KPFK #143: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #143: Second Hour


Jerry Butler feat. Brenda Lee Eager – Ain’t Understanding Mellow
Jerry Butler – Walk Easy My Son
Jerry Butler – The Girl In His Mind

Been meaning to post this up too for quite some time, not just while I’ve been on a bit of hiatus lately, but way way before. I’d mentioned this album back in 2009 when I posted the Lost Generation’s “Sly, Slick & Wicked” 45, and how I’d been surprised the first time I’d heard that record, because I recognized the background music from a song on this album from former Impressions singer Jerry Butler. I’m not sure why they decided to bring that rhythm back, but I’m glad they did. “Ain’t Understanding Mellow” has the arrangement, but it’s clear that the same players from this album have re-recorded the track, which gives it a heavier feeling. I’ve had this in my collection ever since I took on most of the records from our family collection and it’s likely been around in our family since before I got here. It wasn’t until a little while ago that I realized what a sad and depressing record this is. I’d originally thought “Mellow” was two people being thankful for their love, instead it’s actually one of the oddest break-up songs that I’ve ever heard, the sonic equivalent of “I think we both know this isn’t gonna work out, let’s just be friends.” When I was getting ready to post this one here, I noticed how many of the other songs also carry strangely depressing, though poignant messages, “Walk Easy My Son,” is essentially a version of “The Talk” where the father is warning his son about all the dangers of the world, “The Girl In His Mind” should be romantic, but it’s a song where two people are dreaming of each other, but don’t know each other, live in two different cities and don’t get together at the end of the song, so we’re left with the girl still just being in the dude’s mind. Despite the sentiments in the lyrics, its really the production for the album that keeps bringing me back, you’d think Dale Warren and Popcorn Wylie were behind this one just because of the spacing and the darker tones that are brought out, but no, it mostly the usual Chicago suspects involved with Butler. Solid sounds and a worthy addition to any Chicago soul aficionado’s collection.




tUnE-yArDs, ?uestlove, Angelique Kidjo, & Akua Naru – Lady

Been meaning to post this for some time (grading kicked my ass all up and down the street the last couple of weeks. This is now the 2nd collection from the Red Hot organization, which does very fine work around the world on AIDS awareness, to feature the music of Nigerian legend Fela Kuti. In my opinion this one is a consistent improvement over the previous version which had more star power, but less quality. Here we find Baloji, M1 from Dead Prez, LA’s very own KING, master drummer Tony Allen, Sahr Ngaujah (who played Fela in the broadway musical), Kronos Quartet and members of My Morning Jacket, TV on The Radio and the Alabama Shakes paying tribute to the originator of Afrobeat. For me, the most interesting track is this version of “Lady,” the original of which had a killer rhythm but VERY troublesome lyrics denigrating African women who take on “western” aspects of femininity. With Angelique Kidjo and Akua Naru primarily on the vocals (along with Merrill from tUnE-yArDs) the lyrics become more playful and a song that could be described as “anti-feminist” becomes a feminist anthem. Highly recommended.


Literally just found out that I have a few more tickets that I can giveaway for Steve Earle’s performance tomorrow night at the Ford Theatre. Steve Earle is a living legend, a true national treasure in my opinion and someone who I sincerely hope I’ll get to bring into studio sometime in the future. If you’d to see him and his band the Dukes, e-mail me by 12noon Thursday at michael[at]!!!

Here’s a fantastic video for the song “Invisible” from his latest release The Low Highway:

Here Mr. Earle performs the song “This City” which was written for New Orleans and featured in the series Treme:


Robin Hannibal towers over most every producer in 2013 and not just because he is in fact quite a tall fellow.

It was our great pleasure to bring Robin Hannibal in for an interview this past Sunday on Melting Pot. We’d been in contact most of the summer with the hope of bringing in Quadron to perform, but things never quite panned out. Given the year that Robin has had, with highly acclaimed records from both Quadron and his other “main” project Rhye, it made good sense to just have Robin in to discuss both of these bands as well as his own side project Bobby. The interview with Robin and Coco in 2010 stands as one of my favorites that we’ve done, and I think this one is a nice sequel that definitely doesn’t disappoint. We spent essentially the entire show focusing on the music that Robin has created with Quadron, Rhye, Bobby, Owusu & Hannibal and Denmark’s Boom Clap Bachelors, spanning the last 7+ years. As you’ll hear, we cover a lot of territory with these multiple projects, get more insight into Robin’s creative process and approach to orchestrating the sound of his groups. We spent so much time talking that we didn’t have time for a guest DJ set that we’d originally planned on. But hopefully we’ll be able to bring him back sometime in the near future. Until then, enjoy the interview!

Robin Hannibal Interview on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 10-06-2013

Music played during the Interview:

Rhye – The Fall – Woman (Innovative Leisure)
Quadron – Neverland – Avalanche (Vested In Culture)
Bobby – Tame The Shrew – Single (Quieres Chicle)
Rhye – Last Dance – Woman (Innovative Leisure)


Really wasn’t completely sure this one was going to work out until pretty close to Sunday, but we were very happy to welcome back Robin Hannibal our studios. Essentially the entire show was given over to our interview with Robin, including a lot of music from his various projects. Next week we’re back in fundraising mode, so it was nice to leave you guys with a really fantastic interview just to highlight what makes KPFK and Melting Pot so special. Enjoy!

Melting Pot on KPFK #142: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #142: Second Hour

Playlist: 10-06-2013
{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – Melting Pot (Stax)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Quadron – Simili Life – Recorded Live At KPFK (KPFK Archives)
Bobby aka Robin Hannibal – Sneak Preview – Bobby EP (Plug Research)
Owusu & Hannibal – Blue Jay – Living With… (ubiquity)
Boom Clap Bachelors – Andres Haender – EP (Plug Research)
Rhye – Major Minor Love – Woman (Innovative Leisure)
Quadron – Befriend – Avalanche (Vested In Culture)
Rhye – Open – Woman (Innovative Leisure)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Robin Hannibal Interview – Recorded Live At KPFK

Rhye – The Fall – Woman (Innovative Leisure)
Quadron – Neverland – Avalanche (Vested In Culture)
Bobby – Tame The Shrew – Single (Quieres Chicle)

~~~~ Break ~~~~

Rhye – Last Dance – Woman (Innovative Leisure)


George Jones – Sometimes You Just Can’t Win
George Jones – It’s A Sin
George Jones – Lonesome Old Town

Since that Valerie June show, I’ve been on a bit of a classic country kick. By the time he released this album George Jones was already a major star and had a bit of a reputation for trouble. With that classic crew cut, that hard stare, the amazingly flamboyant Nudie Suit that all the top country singers wore and those boots, lord those boots…quite a sight to behold. Jones doesn’t disappoint on record, even if he was already earning his nickname of “No Show Jones” by 1965. There’s something about the way that man sang, such perfect phrasing for a country singer. The fascinating thing about these classic country albums is how diverse the sounds truly are, far beyond the joke from the Blues Brothers of their being only two types of music, Country & Western, there are hints of Rockabilly, Blues and a bit more to be found from Mr. Jones and his band. Well worth a listen or just a quick gander to marvel at that style.



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