Kamasi Washington album


(Young Turks/Remote Control)


kamasi resIt could almost seem like a wry joke. How do you follow up a three-hour album? Make one that lasts for 42 minutes. Kamasi Washington’s response to 2015’s monumental The Epic is so short by comparison that it’s being called an EP, when it’s actually a perfectly conventional length in vinyl terms. Of course the American saxophonist could not let Trump’s ascension pass without comment, and part of his thrust has been to try to represent unity via the convergence of disparate musical strands. Meanwhile his compositions carry titles like Humility, Knowledge, Perspective, Integrity, and Truth (with an Epic-style choir beefing up the latter).

The grooves are dense and (dare I say) rocket-propelled, courtesy of the ongoing use of two drummers. Washington’s tenor sounds mighty, if, to these ears, sometimes remarkably akin to Gato Barbieri’s playing from the Argentinean’s early-’70s heyday: not just in timbre, but in the way the solos accelerate toward climax. To new ears Washington is a revelation and something of a prophet, but the truth is closer to him being an exciting tenor player who pens engaging compositions and has a very good band.