Friday, February 12, 2016

Buy This Album - 'The Epic' by Kamsai Washington

Those of you who have been keeping up with this blog know that I am all about promoting jazz. But, in an attempt to be sensitive to both my audience and the spirit of the times, when it comes to modern jazz music, I'm always on the lookout for one of the genre's more elusive qualities: accessibility. I understand that a lot of jazz these days just goes over people's heads and recommending it probably does more to damage people's impressions of the art form than to bolster them.

The album I'm plugging today is one of those rarest of examples: one that is both innovative & original while retaining an accessibility for the vast majority of interested listeners. The Epic by Kamsai Washington is real jazz. Make no mistake. But it is not a difficult album to listen to. If you're at all interested in the genre or just wondering what great contemporary jazz music sounds like, than you should give this album some serious attention.

I don't think I'm alone in thinking that Washington could very well be one of the next huge names in American jazz music. He's already compiled a resume of gigs that reads like an old veteran's (including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Harvey Mason, for instance, as well as arranging the horn parts for Kendrick Lamar's latest release), and his Epic record has certainly been turning heads for the past 6 months or so (his snub for a Grammy nomination is just the next in a long list of facepalm-worthy nonsense from the association). But, dig it: $11.99 on iTunes gets you 17 songs and just a shade under three hours of music. When he named it The Epic, he wasn't being facetious.

I can't say enough about this album, people. Whether you're a serious jazz fan or you're simply interested in beginning to learn what it's all about, check this record out. It's a great one.


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