Album Of The Week: Kamasi Washington – The Epic

Kamasi-Washington-The Epic

Modern jazz music has never sounded so good. A brazen release from young Los Angeles jazz giant, composer and bandleader Kamasi Washington. “The Epic” is unlike anything jazz has seen and not just because it emanates from the Flying Lotus’s boundary-defying Brainfeeder label.

The album was recorded at a breakneck pace, with eight albums by eight artists recorded in 30 days. That’s an enormous number even before considering the length of Washington’s record.

“The Epic” is a truly unconventional album, the three-volume set includes a 32-piece orchestra, a 20-person choir and 17 songs overlaid with a compositional score written by Washington. Pulsing underneath is an otherworldly ten-piece band, each member of which is individually regarded as among the best young musicians on the planet, including bassist Thundercat and his brother, drummer Ronald Bruner Jr.

As a listening experience, the album is best consumed in its entirety but standouts “Change Of The Guard,” “Miss Understanding,” “Henrietta Our Hero,” “Clair Du Lune,” “Re Run Home” and “Seven Prayers” truly highlight Washington’s skill at creating meticulously arranged compositions.

I’m sure we’ll hear more of Washington’s 21st-century jazz…but for now immerse yourself and fall into the musical trance of “The Epic”.

9/10

CF Smith

Write for Music Is My Sanctuary & Stereofox.

2 thoughts on “Album Of The Week: Kamasi Washington – The Epic

  1. Indeed a very interesting pick! I have listened to it a few times, or rather parts of it a few times. And I like it quite a lot. However in my view sometimes it is just too much of everything and it becomes a “tour de force”. But rather this than just more of the same as many others do.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I agree it’s an enormous record chock full of ideas, but as you say rather this than the same-old, same-old.

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