One of the most important CDs of this year is definitely Kamasi Washington’s album “The Epic”. This album is was released on May 15 and from the start it was clear that something special happened here.
The album has 3 CDs with a total playtime of 172 minutes, the band has two drummers, two bass players, one of them is Stephen Bruner aka Thundercat and a choir and an orchestra support the band.
But the music is definitely Jazz music even if some of the members of the band and Kamasi himself have been known from working in other genres like film music or Hip-Hop.
The songs on the first two CDs area all original compositions by Kamasi Washington, the last CD (labeled The Historic Repetition) contains material from Terence Blanchard (“Malcolm’s Theme”), Claude Debussy (“Clair de Lune”) and the famous standard “Cherokee” ( a rather relaxed arrangement here).
My personal favorites of this CD are the first song on the first CD “Change of the Guard” and the relaxed “Cherokee”.
This album is one of the candidates for the best Jazz albums of this year, it is unique and outstanding in terms of performance and inspiration and it might have what it takes to make a new generation listening to Jazz music again.
Kamasi is at the moment in Europe, unfortunately there was no concert in Switzerland. But let’s hope we are able to see him next year.
Today I want to start presenting CD’s that have been released this year.
We all enjoy the recordings from the great masters, like John Coltrane and Miles Davis but some of these records are already 50 years old.
I think we should also be able to see what is currently going on and so I started to look around for new CD releases. There are records from major labels like Concord, ECM and there are also records from well-known names like Diana Krall or Gregory Porter.
But there is also a lot of new stuff from artists in the second row and I would like to start today with a CD from Dave Stryker called “Messin’ with Mr T”. The CD is a reminiscence to Stanley Turrentine, who died 15 years ago. Dave Stryker was playing with Stanley Turrentine for many years and recorded two albums with him.
The CD contains 10 songs and features 10 different saxophone players including Chris Potter, Bob Mintzer, Eric Alexander and Steve Slagle.
The rhythm section includes the finest musicians from the New York Jazz scene with Jared Gold on hammond B3 organ and McClenty Hunter on drums.
It’s an excellent CD with very good music, including all-time classics like “In a Sentimental Mood” or “Impressions” and also some very groovy played tunes like “Side Steppin’” or “Don’t Mess With Mr.T”.
If you like hammond trios plus excellent saxophone playing then this CD is the right choice. Never boring, great artists and great soloing. Definitely one of my personal favorites of this year.
The CD made #1 on JazzWeek Radio chart and has been on the chart for more than 20 weeks.
Lucky me a got a signed CD from Dave Stryker when I saw him playing this spring at Marian’s Jazzroom in Bern.
Here is again the iTunes playlist if you want to hear yourself: