Published Jun 19, 2018How do you top an album called The Epic? If you're Kamasi Washington, you do it by moving your craft and your mind inward. On his fourth LP, the L.A. saxophonist unleashes yet another colossal batch of material, exploring an unfathomable scope of moods, genres and ideas over 16 tracks and 150 minutes.
Split into two parts — Earth ("The world that I am a part of") and Heaven ("The world that is a part of me") — Washington enlists his band the Next Step, along with the West Coast Get Down and guests like Thundercat, Ronald Bruner Jr. and Brandon Coleman, to bring a 21st century energy to classic '50s jazz structures. As 2015's The Epic positioned itself as a non-stop barrage of sonic virtuosity, Heaven and Earth finds Washington using a song-first mentality, inserting his unbridled sax playing into well-crafted and well-aged compositions that range from his classy re-workings of the theme to the 1972 Bruce Lee flick, Fists of Fury, to the contained and adventurous accompaniment to Patrice Quinn's airy vocals on the elegant and bombastic "Testify."
Throughout simply titled/simply written tracks like "Lullaby" and "Journey," Washington has astonishingly revealed another element to his budding songcraft. (Young Turks)