Kamasi Washington released his album entitled « The Epic » on Flying lotus label Brainfeeder back in may. He’s a Jazz saxophonist who has put out three albums on his own record label. Being from Los Angeles, it’s easy to call his music « west coast jazz » but it’s much wider than that. This is his first album on a large label with more marketing and touring. He has played with many renowned artists like Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Gerald Wilson, Lauryn Hill, Nas, Snoop Dogg, George Duke and Flying Lotus. Recently, he worked with Kendrick Lamar and Thundercat on their albums To Pimp a Butterfly and The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam. His creativity was a boost for these album and increased his popularity. Now he’s recognized for his talent in « the music industry » whereas before he was only known in the jazz world and seen as a shadow worker.
This record is tough to assimilate. It takes a while to enjoy because it is so dense. Kamasi doesn’t fear to mix emotions with improvisations in his songs. The deepness and creativity of his compositions will make you dream about a magic world. For me, it represents an odissey, an escape from the real world. The length of his songs and them being instrumental give this opportunity to forget the present and let your mind explore.
The diversity of instruments blends in genuinely to create a cohesive and impressive sound. Culturally, it represents a big step for jazz as it will attract new listeners to jazz music. Indeed, his label Brainfeeder is a hip-hop/electronic label and it has a wide audience. Kamasi Washington has toured a lot this year to promote this album, showing that he has the capacity to be a great band leader. I really recommend this album to everybody, as it’s modern jazz at its best !