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”.