Melting Pot (2005) is the debut effort from a combo led by one-time Jerry Garcia Band and Gideon & Power keyboardist Melvin Seals. With roots running deeply into sacred music, it was actually his nearly two-decade-long tenure as Jerry Garcia's organist of choice that brought a whole new audience to the Bay Area ivory tickler. In terms of originals, Seals vacillates from the gorgeous and acoustic "When You Love Someone" -- with the artist on a remarkably realistic sounding synth-guitar -- and the languid after-hours jazz vibe of "Love Is in the Air."
He balances the ballads on the funky and low-down "Travellin' Man" -- highlighted by a guitar solo from Elvin Bishop -- and the upbeat and quirky jam band rocker "Celebrate" -- the latter featuring a rare lead vocal from Seals himself. Joe Goldmark's weeping steel guitar glides into the achingly poignant "I'm Not Going to Cry Anymore," as Dallas Colt (vocals) offers up what is possibly her finest contribution on the disc. Frank Zappa compatriot Ray White guests on the hard-driving "Woman With an Attitude" and even though Richard Healy probably won't be giving Zappa a run for his money, he does provide some blistering fretwork throughout.
Fellow Bay Area associates Mario Cipollina (bass) and Steve Kimock (guitar) ably assist on the skankin' "Reggae World" and the former Huey Lewis bassist can be heard on the aforementioned "Travellin' Man" and the soulfully spiritual "Hands." This departure from the extended instrumental interaction of the various Garcia-related combos is the perfect platform for Seals to display the wide variety and diversity in not only his unparalleled playing, but underutilized composing as well.
AllMusic review by Lindsay Planer
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- CLOSE CALL (3:40)
- CELEBRATE (5:57)
- TRAVELLIN' MAN (4:16)
- I'M NOT GOING TO CRY ANYMORE (4:56)
- I DON'T KNOW WHY (5:02)
- IT'S SAMBA NIGHT (7:31)
- WOMAN WITH AN ATTITUDE (3:54)
- LOVE IS IN THE AIR (8:11)
- HANDS (5:09)
- REGGAE WORLD (6:13)
- WHEN YOU LOVE SOMEONE (3:53)