Kamasi Washington - The Epic (3LP)
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The Epic is saxophonist Kamasi Washington's aptly titled, triple-length, 172-minute debut album for Brainfeeder. He is a veteran of L.A.'s music scene and has played with Gerald Wilson, Harvey Mason,Flying Lotus, and Kendrick Lamar, to name but a few. Most of his bandmates have played together since high school, and it shows. There are two drummers, two bassists, two keyboardists, trumpet, trombone, and vocals. In various settings, they are supported by a string orchestra and full choir conducted by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. Washington composed 13 of these 17 tunes; he also meticulously arranged and produced them. At just over six to nearly 15 minutes, the jams leave room for engaged improvisation. The Epic is based on a concept, though it's unnecessary to grasp in order to enjoy. The music reflects many inspirations - John Coltrane, Horace Tapscott's Pan-African People's Arkestra, Azar Lawrence's Prestige period,Donald Byrd's and Eddie Gale's jazz and choir explorations, Pharoah Sanders' pan global experiments, Afro-Latin jazz, spiritual soul, and DJ culture.