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Thread: Kamasi WASHINGTON: The Epic

  1. #1

    Kamasi WASHINGTON: The Epic

    For me this is one of the best jazz releases of the '10s. Over the three disks (I've got this release on CD), I witness an impressive modern take on Coltrane's "Impressions", "Love Supreme" & "Kulu Sť Mama", the slick side of Miles Davis soul jazz period and Weather Report's electric intensity. Very ambitious at its concept, with brilliant musicanship, top-notch production and few mediocre moments over this 3 hours marathon; it's a highly recommended release.

    A gorgeous album and on my top 10 for 2015 (which has been an excellent year for new music).
    Macht das ohr auf!

    COSMIC EYE RECORDS

  2. #2
    Progga mogrooves's Avatar
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    Go to the "Jazz Discussion" page; we talked about it there some weeks ago/months ago.
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    Couldn't agree more. Inspiring album and one of the best jazz albums of the decade.
    Views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent those of Sony Music

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    facetious maximus Yves's Avatar
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    That good eh? I guess I'll have to pick it up. I've been totally out of the jazz loop for a while now...
    "Corn Flakes pissed in. You ranted. Mission accomplished. Thread closed."

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    As many have mentioned in the Jazz Discussion thread, it's very good. Easily one of my favorites of this year.

  6. #6
    facetious maximus Yves's Avatar
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    So I downloaded this album yesterday. I've only just scratched the surface of disc I but I'm already impressed!
    "Corn Flakes pissed in. You ranted. Mission accomplished. Thread closed."

    -Cozy 3:16-

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    A bit all over the place , but yeah, great stuff overall.
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

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    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mogrooves View Post
    Go to the "Jazz Discussion" page; we talked about it there some weeks ago/months ago.
    very briefly if memory serves... A couple posts

    Quote Originally Posted by oilersfan View Post
    As many have mentioned in the Jazz Discussion thread, it's very good. Easily one of my favorites of this year.
    And of the decade

    Quote Originally Posted by Yves View Post
    That good eh? I guess I'll have to pick it up. I've been totally out of the jazz loop for a while now...
    Absolutely... There is much to eat & drink in there...

    Yup, definitely one of the best of the 00's for sure

    Triple album (between 60 & 70 mins/disc) and normal price, with plenty of lengthy tracks (I think the shortest must be around 6 mins)...

    You can count three types of music in the album:
    - the Alice/John Coltrane with Pharoah, McCoy (ala Sahara) and Shepp influences, when not played over Santana-like rhythms >> wonderful and near-orgasmic stuff
    - the more trad jazz tunes (post-bop), very much 60's-ish ala second miles quintet
    - the sung soul-jazz that has 60's/70's feel, which somehow feels a bit out of a place with the rest of the album

    My only reserve is how they chose to align all these tracks... You get a bit of all three styles in all three disc, when I'd definitely have preferred them separated discs/style... Though the Trane-like fusion would easily overflow in a second disc, if not fill it entirely.
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

  9. #9
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    Good stuff, and well-named!
    The whole Flying Lotus/Kamesi/Kendrick Lamar/Thundercat nexus is a fount of great stuff, IMO.

  10. #10
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    I've been sort of skimming through it for the past hour or so. I do like the fact that it's diverse and pays some homage to different periods and styles of jazz, but I find more to dislike than to like. For starters, the choir and strings gives it a cheese factor that doesn't help matters and it's used in a fair amount of abundance. I would've enjoyed a few of the tracks much more if they weren't there. "Cherokee" is an old standard that's been done to death and though I appreciate that Kamasi did something different with it than the super up-tempo it's usually interpreted as, his version is the worst I've heard (sounds like a cross between Cherokee and Young-Holt Unlimited's "Soulful Strut"). Nobody ever does it as a vocal tune, probably because it has some of the corniest lyrics Tin-pan Alley has to offer. And speaking of vocals, the album would've been better off without any imo. "Clair de Lune;" nobody should mess with one of Debussy's most beautiful compositions (though he did have the good grace to end the track with a minute of the original version). I didn't like Hiromi's version either, but I like it better than this.

    Kasami is a decent sax player, but he doesn't knock me out and I'd much rather listen to Chris Potter, Joe Lovano, Joshua Redman, Branford Marsalis, Dave Liebman, Wayne Shorter... and that's just some of the ones who are still around. I like some of his compositions well enough.

    But best jazz album in a decade? Sorry, but my mileage does vary... greatly.
    Last edited by No Pride; 10-30-2015 at 01:49 PM.

  11. #11
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Pride View Post
    But best jazz album in a decade? Sorry, but my mileage does vary... greatly.
    didn't say that t was the greatest in the last decade, but it was the greatest of the '10's (this implies: so far...)
    Those 10's , which are only halfway through as well, btw.

    But I stand by my present excitation and intial enthusiasm
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

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    Member Oreb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mogrooves View Post
    Go to the "Jazz Discussion" page; we talked about it there some weeks ago/months ago.
    That thread's not much use for people wanting to chase up opinions on specific albums. Much better to have an individual named-thread like this that can be searched and looked back on.

    Does it matter that this waste of time is what makes a life for you?

  13. #13
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    Great and in my top 5 for this 2015!.
    Really like the concept, the music ... music for musicians ... nop!!

    If you enjoy the cds, then, you`ll love ...


    Pura Vida!.

    There are two kinds of music. Good music, and the other kind. ∞
    Duke Ellington.

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    I've noticed the length of the three CD's is VERY long. It's also available as a 3-LP set. Does anyone know if it is indeed 3 LP's and not more, as it surely would be edited on vinyl which really would suck!
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    Man, that dudes ambitious!
    no tunes, no dynamics, no nosebone

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    Quote Originally Posted by Birdy View Post
    I've noticed the length of the three CD's is VERY long. It's also available as a 3-LP set. Does anyone know if it is indeed 3 LP's and not more, as it surely would be edited on vinyl which really would suck!
    They fit it all on 3 LPs and miraculously it actually sounds quite good. They did reorder it but that's not particularly bothersome to me. It is a BEAUTIFUL package.
    Views expressed by the author do not necessarily represent those of Sony Music

  17. #17
    That's Mr. to you, Sir!! Trane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nosebone View Post
    Man, that dudes ambitious!
    from what I gather, the man's been around for decades, but hadn't really been able to release solo albums before

    if you watch the film (around the 4-mins mark), from lack of dough, they (the whole crowd) as a collective, they rented the studio for one full month and recorded as many music has possible. 4 different albums came out of it and Kamasi himself came out with 45 "songs"... of which 17 of them were edited and published on The Epic
    my music collection increased tenfolds when I switched from heroin-addicts to crazy ones

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    Just picked this up.

    One thing that strikes me about this album: it is "prog" as hell. Partly because of its sheer ambition. And partly because in spite of its imperfections - and they are many - it still works, and works like crazy. You could nit-pick all day - for starters, Kamasi isn't that great a soloist, some of the tunes go on too long for what they have to offer, the choir and strings are straight outa Cecil B. DeMille Hollywood, and "Cherokee's" lyrics (apparently the original ones) fall with a big tinny CLANK. But what really comes across is the passion behind it, and that is its saving grace.

    In a way, it's The Great African-American Prog Epic - it's just not prog rock.
    Instead of rock, it's got soul music, and instead of classical music, it's got jazz.

  19. #19
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by No Pride View Post
    But best jazz album in a decade? Sorry, but my mileage does vary... greatly.


    It is definitely not a jazz record for entrenched jazz buffs, but judging by ecstatic widespread response from the people who have supposedly had little to no exposure to the genre it may be a godsend. A great opportunity to make wider audience familiar with various styles of jazz, its instrumentation and improvisational aesthetics.

    Enough to read the comments on YT below particular tracks. Let's appreciate that.
    Last edited by Jay.Dee; 02-10-2016 at 03:08 PM.

  20. #20
    Member No Pride's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay.Dee View Post


    It is definitely not a jazz record for entrenched jazz buffs, but judging by ecstatic widespread response from the people who have supposedly had little to no exposure to the genre it may be a godsend. A great chance to make wider audience familiar with various styles of jazz, its instrumentation and improvisational aesthetics.

    Enough to read the comments on YT below particular tracks. Let's appreciate that.
    Echoes my sentiments pretty well. It kind of reminds me of what I thought when I first heard Spock's Beard; "it's pretty good, but I'd rather hear the music that it's derived from." Understanding that it's impressive if you're not familiar with those influences, of course. Kasami is the jazz edition of that, at least to me. YMMV.

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    Quote Originally Posted by No Pride View Post
    Echoes my sentiments pretty well. It kind of reminds me of what I thought when I first heard Spock's Beard; "it's pretty good, but I'd rather hear the music that it's derived from." Understanding that it's impressive if you're not familiar with those influences, of course. Kasami is the jazz edition of that, at least to me. YMMV.
    Well said. I agree. (That doesn't mean I don't like the album, of course.)

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by No Pride View Post
    I've been sort of skimming through it for the past hour or so. I do like the fact that it's diverse and pays some homage to different periods and styles of jazz, but I find more to dislike than to like. For starters, the choir and strings gives it a cheese factor that doesn't help matters and it's used in a fair amount of abundance. I would've enjoyed a few of the tracks much more if they weren't there. "Cherokee" is an old standard that's been done to death and though I appreciate that Kamasi did something different with it than the super up-tempo it's usually interpreted as, his version is the worst I've heard (sounds like a cross between Cherokee and Young-Holt Unlimited's "Soulful Strut"). Nobody ever does it as a vocal tune, probably because it has some of the corniest lyrics Tin-pan Alley has to offer. And speaking of vocals, the album would've been better off without any imo. "Clair de Lune;" nobody should mess with one of Debussy's most beautiful compositions (though he did have the good grace to end the track with a minute of the original version). I didn't like Hiromi's version either, but I like it better than this.

    Kasami is a decent sax player, but he doesn't knock me out and I'd much rather listen to Chris Potter, Joe Lovano, Joshua Redman, Branford Marsalis, Dave Liebman, Wayne Shorter... and that's just some of the ones who are still around. I like some of his compositions well enough.

    But best jazz album in a decade? Sorry, but my mileage does vary... greatly.

    While I don't completely agree with you, I don't rate it as the best of the year, let alone decade.

    About half of it is really good. About half, not so much.

    Steve Coleman's release from 2015 (Steve Coleman and the Council of Balance: Synovial Joints, which also uses strings, winds and voice), is so much better, it makes Epic sound shallow and a bit pretentious. And Coleman's playing compared to Washington's? Don't get me started. Sorry, but Coleman's playing makes Washington's sound a bit like a boy among men.
    Last edited by simon moon; 02-11-2016 at 02:36 PM.
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  23. #23
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simon moon View Post
    Steve Coleman's release from 2015 (Steve Coleman and the Council of Balance: Synovial Joints, which also uses strings, winds and voice), is so much better, it makes Epic sound shallow and a bit pretentious. And Coleman's playing compared to Washington's? Don't get me started. Sorry, but Coleman's playing makes Washington's sound a bit like a boy among men.
    Steve Coleman is not a good comparison, because Epic is not a modern jazz record, it is more a cross-over album. We should rather compare it to acid-jazz (Groove Collective, Brand New Heavies, St Germain, etc) or nu-jazz (Nuspirit Helsinki, Cinematic Orchestra, Jaga Jazzist, etc).

    Steve Coleman may have invited hip-hop guys to his albums, but it does not change the fact that he is a modern jazz legend with an output already considered classic.

    If we have to compare Washington to any modern instrumentalist then someone like Erik Truffaz or Nils Petter Molvaer would be a more appropriate reference point IMO.
    Last edited by Jay.Dee; 02-12-2016 at 05:53 AM.

  24. #24
    Truffaz definitely has some cross-over appeal with his street beats and grooves, but his leaner, darker group sound and aesthetic is so much different from Washington's cosmic molasses.

  25. #25
    Member Jay.Dee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reid View Post
    Truffaz definitely has some cross-over appeal with his street beats and grooves, but his leaner, darker group sound and aesthetic is so much different from Washington's cosmic molasses.
    Some artists have started to think big recently: first The Epic, now The Astonishing...
    Last edited by Jay.Dee; 02-12-2016 at 05:52 AM.

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