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Episode 111 : Miles Marshall Lewis on Kendrick Lamar + Wynton Marsalis + Bob Marley

4 October 2021

In this episode, we welcome the excellent Miles Marshall Lewis to Zoom in from his native New York City. Co-hosts Barney, Mark & Jasper ask Miles about his formative musical experiences in the South Bronx, including the impact of his parents' superhip record collection. The conversation turns to hip hop, and then to the "mashing" of jazz and rap on the first three Tribe Called Quest albums — which leads circuitously to Kendrick Lamar's jazz-infused 2015 masterpiece To Pimp a Butterfly, and then to the biography (Promise That You Will Sing About Me: The Power & Poetry of Kendrick Lamar) that Miles has just published. Jasper asks the author about Kamasi Washington and other guest stars on Butterfly, after which we swing to the opposite end of the jazz spectrum and discuss Tony Scherman's 1996 interview with somewhat divisive traditionalist Wynton Marsalis — the week's new audio offering, from which we hear two clips.

From jazz and hip hop we turn to reggae and to the week's featured artist Bob Marley. Prompted by the imminent London premiere of Marley musical Get Up, Stand Up!, we hear the voice of the Jamaican superstar as he speaks to Karl Dallas about 'I Shot the Sheriff', a mere day after the Wailers blew the roof off London's Lyceum theatre on 18th July, 1975.

After bidding farewell to Status Quo bassist/cofounder Alan Lancaster and to George "Commander Cody" Frayne IV, the RBP team talk us through the 100+ pieces added to our library over the past two weeks. These include Lillian Roxon writing about L.A. in the aftermath of the 1969 Manson killings (before Manson has been arrested); Ronnie Hawkins in hot water with former charges The Band/Hawks (also 1969), Michael Watts in hot pursuit of Iggy Pop in 1977, Mark Rozzo revisiting "ultimate cult album" Big Star Third in 2006, and — bringing the episode full circle — our special guest on Baz Luhrmann's 2016 hip hop drama The Get Down...

Watch a video clip from this recording

Many thanks to special guest Miles Marshall Lewis. Visit his website at and buy his book Promise That You Will Sing About Me: The Power & Poetry of Kendrick Lamar.