Available Now via Brainfeeder:
Saxophonist Kamasi Washington Revolutionizes
Modern Perception of Jazz with Highly Anticipated
3-Volume Set, The Epic
The Epic Debuts at #2 on iTunes Jazz Charts
Photo Credit: Mike Park
"...a mission to remake the word "jazz" in the image of their own generation.
That's the feat here. You wouldn't be wrong to call that ambition epic." - NPR First Listen
"...the leading figure in a new Los Angeles jazz scene...his work as a soloist and arranger
helps define the sound of Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' one of the
most important hip-hop records of the last several years." - The New York Times
"When jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington was contributing string arrangements to
rapper Kendrick Lamar's 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' few could have predicted that both
L.A. artists would end up dominating the conversation about
hip-hop and jazz in 2015." - The Los Angeles Times
"These young guys remind me of why I love music." - Common
The story begins with a man on high. He is an old man, a warrior, and the guardian to the gates of a city. Two miles below his mountainous perch, he observes a dojo, where a group of young men train night and day. Eventually, the old man expects a challenger to emerge. He hopes for the day of his destruction, for this is the cycle of life.
Finally the doors fly open and three young men burst forth to challenge the old master. The first man is quick, but not strong enough. The second is quick, and strong, but not wise enough. The third stands tall, and overtakes the master. The changing of the guard has at long last been achieved.
But then the old man wakes up. He looks down at the dojo and realizes he's been daydreaming. The dojo below exists, but everyone in training is yet a child. By the time they grow old enough to challenge the old man, he has disappeared.
· · ·
"He just plays the craziest shit, man. I mean, everything - the past, present, the future,"Flying Lotus says, whose family lineage includes one of Washington's direct musical forebears, John Coltrane. "It's hard to find unique voices in this music. Especially in jazz, more so lately, everybody is trying to do the same shit. I don't want to hear 'My Favorite Things' anymore. What I am hearing is a leader among artists."
· · ·
This is, in essence, a true story and a carefully constructed musical daydream, one that will further unfold on May 5, 2015 in a brazen release from young Los Angeles jazz giant, composer, bandleader, and saxophonist Kamasi Washington. The Epic is unlike anything jazz has seen, and not just because it emanates from the boundary-defying Brainfeeder, which isn't so much a label in the traditional sense as it is an unfurling experiment conducted by the underground producer Flying Lotus, who features Washington on his recent releases Cosmogramma and You're Dead!.
The story The Epic tells, without words but rather through some combination of magic, mastery, and sheer force of imagination, is the story of Kamasi Washington, the Next Step, and their collective mission: to remove jazz from the shelf of relics and make it new, unexpected, and dangerous again. They seek to both honor and alter tradition: as The Epic's opening track announces, they are the "Changing of the Guard." The sound can be felt like flames, sometimes waving in the coziness of a fireplace, in other moments sweeping everything around like a backdraft. But Washington is always in control of the burning.
Kamasi Washington · The Epic
Brainfeeder Records · Release Date: May 5, 2015
For more information on Kamasi Washington, please visit: KamasiWashington.com
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