Album Review: Kamasi Washington-The Epic

Who would have thought jazz would ever be packaged in this shape and style these days?

As ‘The Epic’ played I couldn’t help but marvel at the music from this suite of excellent Jazz.  Kamasi Washington is currently among the most talked about acts on jazz streets and he brings out a kind of rare and unique structure to this genre that seems to be struggling or on a ‘decline’.

Kamasi and his band work out magic throughout the album’s three-hour running time with skills closely reminiscent of John Coltrane and Miles Davis works. The album comes in three discs titled ‘The Plan’, ‘The Glorious Tale’ and ‘The Historic Repetition’. The LP version is also packaged in three. ‘The Epic’ is a 172-minute long set that includes a 32-piece orchestra, a 20-person choir and total of 17 tracks.

Kamasi Washington composed all the tracks apart from ‘The Rhythm Changes’, ‘Henrietta Our Hero’, ‘Cherokee’, ‘Clair De Lune’ and ‘Malcom’s Theme’ which he had help from Patrice Quinn, Ray Noble, Debussy, Terence Blanchard and Jamie Davis.

Washington’s approach to music in this project is evidently wild-driven and outright blunt as he attempts to work through the different generations of jazz and around what is deemed safe to the widely considered unappealing, smooth with mastery results. The project featuring a 10-piece jazz band, is different-a kind of exploration-meant to capitalize on the listeners imagination. 

Kamasi Washington is that kind of artiste who doesn’t make noise about his art, his horns can be heard in releases such as ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ by Kendrick Lamar (2015) and Flying Lotus’ ‘Flying dead’ released in 2014.

The 34-year-old saxophonist has toured with Chaka Khan, Raphael Saadiq and Snoop Dogg and has worked with Kenny Burrell and Gerald Wilson among others

‘The Epic’ was released under underground producer Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder imprint.

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