Classic Melting Pot


Year number five boiled down to the best twenty tracks from the past twelve months of our Dig Deep section…Later this year I hope to have a special 5th anniversary mix put together by one of the best DJ’s here in LA, but until then, Dig On It!

Melting Pot’s Deepest Digs Volume 5

1.  Phil Upchurch – Adam and Charlene – Upchurch
2.  The Emotions – Take Me Back – Untouched
3.  Johnny Frigo Sextet – Gardens On The Moon – The Electric Jazz Of Gus Giordano
4.  The Peppos and Jones Straightjacket Band – Humanity – 7″
5.  Clifford Coulter – Yodelin In A Whatchamaname Thang – Do It Now…Worry About It Later
6.  Miguel De Deus – Fabrica De Papeis – Black Soul Brothers
7.  Lenny White – Sweet Dreamer – Big City
8.  Gabor Szabo – Galatea’s Guitar – Dreams
9.  Ame Son – Eclosion – Catalyse
10. Joe Henderson – Earth – The Elements
11. Richard Menezes – Nova Jersey – 7″
12. Marcia Griffiths – Here I Am Baby – Sweet Bitter Love
13. Little Richard – The Rill Thing – The Rill Thing
14. Jean Kassapian – The Snake – 7″
15. The Latinaires – Camel Walk – Camel Walk
16. Horace Silver – Won’t You Open Up Your Senses – Total Response
17. Billy Harper – Soulfully, I Love You – Capra Black
18. Jerry Butler – Ain’t Understanding Mellow – The Sagittarius Movement
19. John Mayall – Looking At Tomorrow – Back To The Roots
20. Erasmo Carlos – Minha Gente – Sonhos e Memorias 1941-1972


Jun Mayuzumi – Black Room
Jun Mayuzumi – Miracle
Jun Mayuzumi – Answer To Me
Jun Mayuzumi – Yagi-Bushi

I’m not entirely sure where or how I first heard the sounds of Jun Mayuzumi. I thought it might have been from the Nippon Girls collection, but that wasn’t put out until 2009 and I’m pretty sure I must have at least heard this while I was still living in the Bay Area on KALX Berkeley (probably due to Mathew Africa…R.I.P.).

Jun accepting her trophy for the most breaktastic Japanese song of all-time!

Jun accepting her trophy for the most breaktastic Japanese song of all-time!

I do know for sure the moment I freaked out for the song and had to get a copy. I’ve actually mentioned it here already, back in 2010, thanks to Scott Craig at the old Records LA spot. “Black Room” is quite possibly the greatest dancefloor filler, break-beat champion sound to have ever been released out of Japan and its one of my top five favorite songs to dance too (which I was reminded of this past weekend when Soul Marcosa dropped it in his set, followed by Los Kifers “El Sol Es Una Droga,” almost resulting in murder on the Funky Sole dance floor at the Echo). It’s got the great drums courtesy of Akira Ishikawa, big heavy bass lines, snappy horns and this fantastic long call “Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww” from Jun with the drums only behind her at the start of most verses. Just a brilliant, brilliant tune.

A couple years ago, I found out that in addition to the 45, the song, along with 13 other tracks, was featured on this album from Mayuzumi, released in 1968 (I think, since I don’t read, speak or write Japanese). Most of these songs are also featured on 45s from Mayuzumi, and so instead of spending a small fortune tracking all of them down individually, I got this one as a birthday gift to myself. From what I can tell the cover of the record depicts Mayuzumi winning the Japan Record Award in 1968, sort of the equivalent of the Grammy’s here in the States. The same group that backs her on “Black Room” is featured on every track and while half of the songs are slower pop ballads, things still get soulful and funky just about everywhere else. There isn’t a lot of information on Jun in English on the interwebs, I know she also did a fair amount of acting, but not much more than that. One day hopefully I’ll be able to add her story here, but until then let’s just be thankful for the tunes.




Electric Wire Hustle – Bottom Line

First heard of Electric Wire Hustle while at KCRW, when Mathieu Schreyer and Anthony Valadez received music from them, started playing it and soon enough most of DJs at the station were playing music from this soulful group out of New Zealand. Fast forward six years later and the group is readying their second full-length due to be released in the fall. To tease us a bit they’ve released this four song EP, featuring brand new originals “Bottom Line” and “If These Are The Last Days,” plus one remix for each from Flako and Eliphino. I didn’t catch the EWH wave the first time around, but I’m all aboard this time. Electric Wire Hustle is yet another example of the really stellar simultaneously backward/forward thinking soul music getting created outside of the US (Quadron and Hiatus Kaiyote, both bands AntVala had a hand in breaking, being the best recent examples). We’ll see what other treasures the full-length album holds, but if it’s even half as good as these two tracks, it will definitely place highly on my list of the Best of 2014.

By the way, they’ve also created a gorgeous nature filled video for “If These Are The Last Days” that you should check out:


This was a very special show. I wasn’t on the air last week, so I wasn’t able to share the Charnett Moffett interview or pay tribute to Charlie Haden. With Haden’s passing, Moffett is without a doubt the best bass player walking the earth. We recorded the interview on Thursday, the day before we found out about Haden’s passing and so we don’t discuss him, and instead focus solely on Moffett’s exceptional career. It’s truly an honor to be able to pair this interview and performance with a tribute to Haden, as these two players (along with Mingus) are my favorite bassist/composers in Jazz History.

In the week since we learned of his passing, I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on Haden’s legacy and listening to all of the fantastic tributes on KPFK. I’d pretty much known what songs I was going to play featuring Haden within a couple of hours of hearing of his passing. I’m struck that with an entire week of programming, from 5 or 6 different shows on our station, there was very little overlap in the songs people played. Charlie Haden’s career was so long and so stellar that we likely could have dedicated the entire week to him, 24/7, and never once repeated ourselves. In my case, I focused on songs that I had deep personal connection to. 10 years ago, I had a much more extensive collection of music that featured Haden. Over the last decade as I’ve started to rebuild my collection, I’ve often had to focus on the music that I knew I loved most. That is certainly the case with the majority of tracks I’ve played here, many of them recorded from around 1970 to 1973, a period of time where Haden was particularly associated with two large ensembles, his Liberation Music Orchestra and the Jazz Composer’s Orchestra. The sound of these pieces is certainly within the avant-garde, but it is marked by an extraordinary soulfulness and depth of emotion that isn’t always found within this particular branch of the creative music we call Jazz, but was always found in the music of Charlie Haden, regardless of what ensemble or style of music he played.

Each of these songs, as well as the recent collaboration with his son, Josh Haden and his band Spain, “You and I,” testify to the extraordinary beauty of Haden’s playing. As I’ve mentioned before, truly hearing Haden’s music affected me in profound ways, not just in terms of how I approach music, but also politically, emotionally and spiritually. I am a better man and more capable of recognizing the wonders of life and playing my part to increase beauty and love in this world because of the work of Charlie Haden. I will be eternally grateful to him for the many gifts he gave us all.

Melting Pot on KPFK #171: First Hour
Melting Pot on KPFK #171: Second Hour

Playlist: 07-20-2014

{opening theme} Booker T & the MGs – Melting Pot – 7″ (Stax)

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Charnett Moffett – Interview and Performance – Recorded Live at KPFK (KPFK Archives)

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Charlie Haden Tribute:
The Liberation Music Orchestra feat. Charlie Haden – Song For Che – Liberation Music Orchestra (Impulse)
The Liberation Music Orchestra feat. Charlie Haden – Els Segadors – Ballad Of The Fallen (ECM)

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The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra feat. Charlie Haden – Trans-Love Airways – The Relativity Suite (JCOA)
Joe Henderson feat. Charlie Haden – Earth – The Elements (Milestone)

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The Jazz Composer’s Orchestra feat. Charlie Haden – Hotel Overture – Escalator Over The Hill (JCOA)
Spain feat. Charlie Haden – You and I – Sargent Place (Glitterhouse)

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{closing theme} The Liberation Music Orchestra feat. Charlie Haden – We Shall Overcome – Liberation Music Orchestra (Impulse)


Charnett Moffett on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 07-10-2014

I first saw Charnett Moffett at Yoshi’s when he was playing in McCoy Tyner’s band. I knew his name and likely had heard a few records with his playing, but nothing could have prepared me for what I saw that night. Pretty much from the moment he played his first note I was completely transfixed, such is the power of Charnett Moffett’s virtousic talent. A little less than two weeks ago, I had the great fortune to bring Charnett into the KPFK studios to record an interview and performance. He was in town performing at the Catalina Jazz Club and was good enough to come to the station shortly after arriving in Los Angeles. The experience is one I’ll treasure for the rest of my days. We spent almost three hours together, working on the sound of his two basses, taking a lunch break, collaboratively discussing the structure of the interview and changing course, in a true improvisatory spirit, when either of us felt it might be good to go a different way. It was truly a one-of-a-kind experience, especially because while he was performing I was essentially only a foot away from him. In the interview we discuss a bit about his upbringing and the influence of his father, Charles Moffett, quite a lot about his most recent album Spirit Of Sound (the interview features 5 songs from the album, and two live performances on piccolo and fretless bass of the tracks “Spirit Of Sound” and “Overpass”) as well as his general philosophy on making music and how it connects to the lives we lead. Many many inspiring words and sounds from a true master of his instrument and one of the all-time greats in my opinion on bass. Big thanks to Mary Ann Topper for her help in setting this up and of course to Charnett Moffett for his generosity, patience and exuberance while sharing the gifts of his time and music with us.


DJ Rogers – Listen To The Message
DJ Rogers – Celebration
DJ Rogers – Bail Out
DJ Rogers – March On

{This record is one of several that I currently have up on Ebay, solid titles and you know the money goes to a good cause, namely this blog and my ongoing vinyl addiction!}

Picked this up at a recent dig at one of my favorite LA spots. As I was going through all of the bins, turning up a few pieces but nothing spectacular I happened upon this plain blue jacket with no information at all. Intrigued, I took the album out, which felt like it was made from something other than vinyl, metal perhaps, and saw that this was clearly a test pressing. The album turns out to be D.J. Rogers debut album, released on Shelter records in 1973. DeWayne Julius Rogers was a homegrown talent who got his start singing in local church choirs, most notably the Watts Community Choir and the Los Angeles Community Choir. That gospel influence is clear from pretty much the start of the album, in his vocals and in the way the vocals from the chorus (which features Maxayn Lewis) are arranged. It’s also pretty clear that Rogers was a major fan of Sly Stone, because this album could have been mistaken for a Sly side-project. Though the funk here has clear nods to Sly, it doesn’t retain any of the murky sonic character of Sly’s There’s A Riot Going On or Fresh. Instead the funk only adds to the uplifting messages in the songs.

I thought I would be able to find more information about this test pressing, but struck out in every online search I could find. In some cases test pressings like this were made as the last step before sending the record out, sometimes as a kind of personal promo. Artisan Sound Recorders was a fairly well know pressing operation, and there are more than a few test pressings from that company, but I could find anything on this one. Might just be a one-of-a-kind find.




Los Disco Duro – Te Lo Creo

There’s been a wave of really nice brand new tracks on vinyl of late.  This one comes to us from the artist formerly known as DJ Ryan at KALX and currently known as Roger Más.  He has a new project called Los Disco Duro, that builds on his previous Nu-Cumbia work under his own name and expands it into a style the boys are calling Sonido Robótico.  For this debut 45, they’ve reconstructed two classic cumbias, “Te Lo Creo” and “Muchachada,” into synth heavy, club ready bangers with robotic vocoder vocals.  While these sounds clearly would find a good home on most latin dance nights, they update to the classic cumbia sound also makes it real easy to throw into most any set where you want to get the people moving.  Hoping for much more from this project in the coming months & years!


Natasha Diggs was our guest this weekend on Melting Pot. Though she’s been a DJ and collector for over a decade, I only recently find out about her. In the last several months, it seemed like I kept hearing about this incredible DJ based in New York, first from Seano of KPFK’s Soundwaves, where she did a Guest DJ set in May of this year (and also in June 2013) and especially in the run-up to the latest edition of Danny Holloway’s Blazing 45s series, which occurred this past Friday with Natasha featured as one of the many fantastic DJs on the bill. On the regular you can find her in NY as one of the residents for Mobile Mondays at Bowery Electric, 327 Bowery @ 2nd St, along with Just Blaze, Joey Carvello, Misbehavior, Operator EMZ and others. NDiggs2 It took me all of 5 minutes of watching her skills in the mix in some videos online for me to feel deeply sorry for missing out all these years, and also to immediately contact her to try to bring her into the studio for a chat and guest DJ session. Thankfully she was able to come in and spend sometime with us, despite a weekend where she was busy spinning at Amoeba Hollywood, The Echoplex and The Ace Hotel.

In our short interview (Natasha was a bit under the weather and losing her voice, next time she’s in town we’ll dig deeper into things) we discuss a little bit about her background and how she came to collect and mix primarily 45s. We also talk about her approach to spinning at a variety of venues. One of the many things I appreciate about Natasha is that when you watch her DJ, aside from the top-notch skills and selection, it’s really clear that she absolutely loves this music and loves playing it for people who also love to dance. Her mix is almost a full hour long, featuring all vinyl and all 45s, and moving through a variety of genres and styles in that space of time. Throughout the guest set she showcases her great ears for tunes and also battle ready skills to match, especially on some classic breaks like “Hot Pants,” “Impeach the President,” “The Handclappin’ Song” and “Cold Feet.” She didn’t let on too much about upcoming plans, but I have a feeling there are big things in store for Natasha Diggs in the next year, including hopefully a return trip to LA. Don’t make my mistake…do not sleep on this one…she is a mighty mighty force with those tiny records.

Natasha Diggs Interview on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 07-12-2014
Guest DJ Set from Natasha Diggs on KPFK’s Melting Pot: 07-12-2014


Charlie Haden & the Liberation Music Orchestra – Song For Che
Charlie Haden & the Liberation Music Orchestra – The Introduction/Song Of The United Front/El Quinto Regimento/Los Cuatro Generales/Viva La Quince Brigada/The Ending To The First Side

A great and glorious light in this world has gone out…on Friday, July 11th, we learned of the passing of Charlie Haden. I’m not sure it’s possible to fully understand the impact Haden’s music and style have had on musicians the world over. I’ll leave that for others. Instead here I’ll just tell of the effect his music has had on me, a subject I’ll return to next week when I host an hour long tribute to Haden on my radio show. I have no memory of the first time I heard Haden on bass. I’m sure it must have been at some point in high school, when I was starting to take baby steps into jazz, but I don’t remember it. I’m sure I had heard his music, particularly from the years he spent with Ornette Coleman, by the time I arrive at college. Surely by the time we (myself, James Diggs and Daryl “G-Wiz” Felker) brought jazz back to Album 88 I must have been familiar with his name and his work. By the time James and Daryl had left the show and it was all my own I’m certain I must have owned several records with Haden playing on them. At that time, shortly after my mother’s death, I engaged in quite a lot of record therapy and with the jazz show, much of what I dug up was out of print jazz on vinyl. At the time I had pretty extreme tastes, either funky soul-jazz that often got sampled by Hip-Hop producers or the fiery free and spiritual jazz that was rarely ever heard on the radio.

At some point in that period of time I bought a copy of this album, the first by Charlie Haden’s collective of musicians known as the Liberation Music Orchestra, originally released on Impulse records in 1970. In those days my ears were not as patient as they are now, I’d buy 10-15 records in a week and generally listen to the ones with breaks (or that I thought had breaks) and leave the others for some later day, often Sunday when the “Blue Note” aired. I may have listened to this album once or twice, I can’t remember the exact circumstances, but I do remember vividly when I finally HEARD the music on this album. I was going about my business with the album on the turntable, probably alphabetizing other records, and the moment on the first side where everything falls away and you hear, a chorus of voices rise up, almost like voices from beyond the grave, to sing a few lines of Spanish Civil War Song “El QUinto Regimento” before a blistering flamenco style solo arrives from Sam Brown that closes with a solo from Haden himself with these lightly cascading cymbals in the background. When I heard those voices and then the music that followed I stared at my turntable from across the room for a good long while. In all honesty I wasn’t sure if the voices actually came from the record, which didn’t make sense, why would these Spanish voices be coming out of this avant-grade jazz record, or there was some kind of ghostly happenings afoot.

The album finally reached another passage where the old Spanish Republican songs were super-imposed again (which, incidentally, last for longer periods of time on this version only, the 1973 repress of this album, in some cases a full second or two longer than the original from 1970 and all of the post-1990s reissues) and I finally was able to move and went over to the turntable to begin the side over again, now with my full attention on the piece. I spent the next 26 minutes listening to this extraordinary piece of music, brought together by Carla Bley and inspired by the music of Spanish Civil War. Haden2From the opening notes of “The Introduction” through all that followed after I was completely mesmerized. I just sat there in front my stereo with my hand on my chin trying to process all of that beauty. When the piece arrived at “Viva La Quince Brigada” with it’s deep swells of emotion from the entire ensemble and especially the screaming saxophone of Leandro Barbieri and the chorus now singing “Ay Carmela” I was completely overwhelmed by this music and began to openly and uncontrollably weep. I’ve shed tears over music before and since, but I’ve never had that experience again. The experience fundamentally changed aspects of my character, beginning with an obsessive look into the Spanish Civil War, deeper investigations into political music and leftist political theory from outside the US and also forever shifted my listening habits so that whenever I buy music that is new to me, I always make sure to set aside time to hear it fully.

When I finally flipped the record over and played “Song For Che” I was just as deeply moved. After years of now listening intently to the music of Charlie Haden, in all his many groups and all the many styles he played in, there’s still not a more perfect song than this one that expresses everything that was so beautiful about him. About three minutes in there is a stretch where he plays the central melody in an almost flamenco style on his double bass as a short passage of Carlos Puebla’s “Hasta Siempre” makes a brief appearance before all manner of glorious sounds erupt with the parts of the orchestra coming in led by Dewey Redman’s plaintive tenor saxophone. Every time the full group returns to the central melody near the end of this song, with Dewey’s Saxophone on one side and Don Cherry’s trumpet on the other, my heart swells. To this day it remains one of the most beautiful and deeply affecting pieces of music I’ve ever heard.

Haden3A few years ago, at the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, I did a tribute to the music of that conflict, including tracks from this album and other Liberation Music Orchestra releases (as well as the original tracks they interspersed in this album, which were released in 1963 on a 78 and reissued on CD in 1996 with notes in English, Spanish and French). At one point during the broadcast a caller called in saying that he was Charlie Haden and thanking me for doing the show and for playing his music. I honestly didn’t believe it was him until he called up again at the end of the show to give me his post office box address to send a copy of the show to, which I promptly and inexcusably lost. I thought I might have dreamed the whole thing until Maggie Lepique, the Music Director at KPFK, told me that Charlie had called her and wanted a copy of the show. In the last several years I’ve had an opportunity to interview Charlie’s son, Josh Haden and his group Spain, and have had short conversations with one of his daughters Rachel Haden who sometimes works in a local record store (in fact I bought this particular copy of this album, replacing an older one, at that store and she was at the counter when I brought my records and she beamed and proudly showed it to her co-worker). Though they play different styles of music than their father, his light shines in them and thankfully will be carried on in their music and their lives.

I feel incredibly lucky to share music like this, here online and on the various radio stations I’ve been at. Even people who don’t like Avant-Garde music recognize the incredible majesty of these songs. I’m also thankful that I got to see Charlie Haden perform late last year, perhaps one of his last public performances, as he led a CalArts edition of the Liberation Music Orchestra, performing a variety of songs, including a tribute to the then recently departed Nelson Mandela. It was sadly clear just what ill health Haden was in at that time, so frail and especially at the beginning of the night seemingly unable to stand or talk for stretches of time. But as the music played and he got excited by what the young musicians were doing, he kept coming to the microphone and telling stories, most of them centered of love in one form or another. That night closed with one of my most cherished memories, as Haden took up his bass and played some of the sweetest and saddest notes I’ve ever heard in a blissfully long rendition of “Blue In Green.” As with the first moment I really heard his playing on this album, I’ll never forget hearing Haden play on that evening. We all should feel blessed to have spent time with and been able to hear such lovely music from a truly lovely human being.

Peace be with you Charlie Haden, thank you for all you shared with us…


Miles Tackett – Everything

{Tomorrow Night (Thursday July 10th) Miles Tackett is having his record release party over at the Bootleg Bar, performing with his backing band “The Three Times” along with Mexico 68, Luther Russell and yours truly spinning some tunes throughout the night!!!}

“Music Man” Miles is perhaps best known as the driving force behind the mighty Breakestra. He’s also well known around these parts for two legendary nights, Root Down (currently on hiatus, though occasionally getting together as the Root Down Sound System) and Funky Sole (still growing strong every Saturday at the Echo). Recently he debuted a new project, Miles Tackett & the 3 Times, releasing music under his own name for the first time in a long long time via the just released album The Fool Who Wonders. For fans of his other projects, the tunes on this album may be a bit of a surprise. First off, while Miles handles a lot of the instruments on the recording, his work on guitar is featured most prominently. There are some definite nods to Hendrix, but Miles’ style is maybe a bit more akin to Stevie Ray Vaughan in his more Hendrix inspired moments, though it really doesn’t sound like either man explicitly (that makes more sense sonically than it might on paper, as you can hear on “Everything” above, or “One More Time” on the album). It’s not a straight funk sound as some might expect given Breakestra’s history, instead it’s more of a soulful rockin’ style that also has roots in his Laurel Canyon upbringing. The other surprise is Miles’ singing voice, something that I don’t think I’d heard until he started performing this solo material. There’s a real tenderness that comes out of his singing, particularly because of the phrasing where many of the ends of his words hang around, that reminds me a bit of Buddy Miles’ early work, while again retaining a sound all its own. It’s something that you hear on the mellower tracks like “Come Away,” “Paradise” or the cover of “Everybody’s Been Burned,” but you still hear it even when the band kicks it up a notch, as they do on “Everything.” That ability to seamlessly mix together a variety of different elements is one of the strengths of his previous work as a DJ and with Breakestra, and it’s something that is just as welcome here as Miles emerges with his a sound all his own.

As a bonus, here’s the video for the first single from the album, “Just What I Need”:

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