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Jazz - Released May 11, 2015 | Brainfeeder

Hi-Res Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Pitchfork: Best New Music - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS - Qobuzissime
Like its creator, Kamasi Washington's triple album debut, The Epic, is imposing, multi-faceted and aspiring to change music forever. A close collaborator with fellow innovative Angelenos Stephen Bruner (Thundercat), Steven Ellison (Flying Lotus) and Kendrick Lamar, Washington's evolved vision mixes bebop, soul jazz, old school organ trio R&B, space jazz and fusion à la Miles Davis. At the center of this prismatic, conscious-expanding maelstrom is Washington's bodacious horn whose tone and approach can by turns be compared to the playing of Azar Lawrence, Pharoah Sanders and especially John Coltrane. The musical forces assembled to energize Washington's intuitive, spiritual meld are truly Herculean. Supported by Thundercat, keyboardists Cameron Graves and Brandon Coleman, trombones, trumpets and more, Washington, who also served as producer, worked a string section, a 20-voice choir and solo vocalist Patrice Quinn into his futuristic arrangements. Despite overdubbing by the project's six engineers, the sonic results are sleek and uncluttered. The diverse flavors here vary with each tune. Introduced by Coleman's organ, "Final Thought" mixes funk and post-bop with Washington's nimble honking. The swing rhythms and wordless vocal choir of "The Next Step" show the results of his time with innovative big band leader Gerald Wilson. Unadulterated fun is the object of the 70's funk groove, "Re Run Home." For those who doubt his connection to music history there's the one-two punch of the standard "Cherokee" and his soaring re-imagining of a movement of Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune." While one can quibble that perhaps three discs is too much of a good thing, it's clear from the assured first notes of the aptly-titled opener "Change of the Guard" that Washington is a musical mystic who's fused his wisdoms and exposures into a debut that's not a product of the insular jazz bubble, nor an au courant hip hop-jazz mashup, but three hours that somehow sound old and new in the same moment—a virtuosic musical statement, one constantly verging on genius. © Robert Baird/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released June 22, 2018 | Young

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music - Indispensable JAZZ NEWS
After the triple, the double! Kamasi Washington, who shook the jazzosphere with The Epic (2015) is still thinking big, with Heaven and Earth, an equally-copious diptych. Above all, it's a tsunami of pluralist jazz. It's just as mystical. It's just as collective. It's just as eclectic (we have a cover of Hubtones by Freddie Hubbard and, rather more madly, the theme from Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury by Bruce Lee). The Californian's music is as deft and ineffable as ever. It's his raison d’être. To return briefly to what sets him apart, our young saxophonist was a part of Brainfeeder, the Flying Lotus stable, the Young Turks, the label of The xx, FKA Twigs and Sampha, not really known for its jazz signings… Let him lead you by the hand across some sequences that are worthy heirs to the Afro-Futurism of Sun Ra, shamanic trances by Pharaoh Sanders, or Horace Tapscott's Pan-Afrikan Peoples Arkestra, the roars of Gato Barbieri, early Weather Report, flights of funk from Roy Ayers or alternate takes of Albert Ayler or John Coltrane… for Kamasi, Heaven and Earth are not two different volumes, but rather two parallel journeys: "“the world that we’re in [and] is what we imagine it to be... [Heaven is] one where what we think it’s going to be, it ends up becoming”. It is easy to be carried off by this stylistic richness across the two hours and twenty minutes of this jazz panorama; the listener is instantly overwhelmed by this creative torrent. It's impossible to be left unmoved by such force… © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released September 29, 2017 | Young

Distinctions Pitchfork: Best New Music
In 2015, with his triple album aptly named The Epic, Kamasi Washington became, at over 34 years old, the new heartthrob of the jazz scene, even transcending its boundaries. It must be said that in parallel to his purely jazz works, the Californian saxophonist did a series of freelance works for artists as diverse as Kendrick Lamar (To Pimp a Butterfly and Damn), Flying Lotus (You’re Dead!), Thundercat (The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam), Run The Jewels (Run The Jewels 3) or even Ryan Adams (Gold). And since The Epic was released on Brainfeeder, the electro label created by Flying Lotus, all the elements were in place to make the man and his music even more atypical…. Here, this is yet again a “not really jazz” record label that welcomes him, Young Turks Records, a subdivision of XL Recordings where you’ll find The XX as well as FKA Twigs, Sampha and SBTRKT. A rather short opus (barely more than 30 minutes), Harmony Of Difference actually offers music that is mainly composed for a multimedia body of work presented at the Whitney Museum in New York, notably paintings by the saxophonist’s sister, Amani Washington, and a short film from the Spanish director AG Rojas. We arrive at a result rather in the spirit of The Epic. Kamasi Washington mixes energy and spirituality with the virtuosity for which he is known, his breath awakening the ghost of Gato Barbieri as well as the one of Pharoah Sanders. Also present is his capacity to stack the layers, whether percussive, blowing or harmonic, without ever being indigestible. On the contrary, the passion as well as the tsunami of emotions that emerge from Harmony Of Difference will even be able to reach an audience usually unreceptive to the jazz idiom… © MZ/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released May 15, 2020 | Young

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Even if Becoming isn’t a classic studio album by Kamasi Washington like his ambitious records The Epic and Heaven and Earth, it’s still a score that the saxophonist from Los Angeles makes truly his own. Composed to accompany Nadia Hallgren’s documentary about Michelle Obama’s tour to promote Becoming all over the US, this completely instrumental soundtrack fits with the polished, razor-sharp images of a 100% Netflix production. The Kamasi Washington sound, the orchestral approach and the pure melodies are all there; but the avant-gardist veils are balanced by a much more soulful, almost pop approach. It’s a bit like a slightly watered-down Kamasi, which is still very good if not brilliant, plus the more daring themes such as Provocation will be sure to satisfy the saxophonist's demanding fans... Becoming's production team obviously didn't choose the Californian by chance; he perfectly embodies the American dream under Obama’s presidency. He’s a young African-American activist who grew up in Inglewood, became a sideman for Snoop and Kendrick and ended up as a star of the international jazz scene... Despite the lack of risk-taking or lively improvisations, Kamasi Washington proves that even in a marked out and policed context he can still create his own sounds and stay true to himself. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released March 12, 2021 | WIde Hive Records

Throttle Elevator Music was never a conventional band. From 2011 to 2017 they existed as a studio cooperative assembled by Wide Hive Records' founder, producer, engineer, and composer Gregory Howe (who is also a brilliant guitarist). The lineup included saxophonist Kamasi Washington, pianist/bassist Matt Montgomery, and guitarist/drummer Mike Hughes. Between 2012 and 2017 their core membership expanded to include trumpeter and flugelhornist Erik Jekabson, guitarist Ross Howe, saxophonist Kasey Knudsen, and organist/keyboardist Mike Blankenship. They released five riveting albums that collided at the intersection of modern jazz, garage rock, funk, dub reggae, and soundtrack music. Six months after the issue of 2020's Emergency Exit -- assembled from ten years of previously unissued sessions -- they released Final Floor, a second helping of studio extras, alternates, outtakes, and demos. Howe claims that this is the collective's final will and testament. Because of his dogged restlessness, aesthetic vision, and capable ear, Howe is adament that Final Floor is not an inferior, kitchen sink collection of castoffs. Instead it's a set of inspired ideas that could easily have found a place on any of the group's releases carefully sequenced into an aesthetic whole. Opener "Supraliminal Space" uses the first 30 bars of Deodato's "Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001)" in weaving a spectral yet pulsing exploratory frame that expands on their inspiration. Ticking ride cymbals, channel-shifting guitars, rumbling tom-toms, and an exchange of spacy piano and organ lines underscore the frontline of Jekabson, Knudsen, and Washington. They play in striated harmonies before descending -- with the use of reverb and other effects -- into a musical no man's land akin Miles Davis, Lalo Schifrin, and Brian Eno. "Daggerboard" emerges at a languid pace from an undulating rhythm section that slowly increases the dramatic tension around Jekabson's lyric flow. When Washington and Knudsen enter, the harmony spirals and the rhythms surrender. "Ice Windows" is a bubbling dubwise rocker that weds funky guitars to bluesy, swaggering horns before exploding into a maelstrom of color, texture, and dynamic. The gnarly chug and groove of the title track signifies what the Ventures would have sounded like if they'd added horns to their army of guitars. "Heart of Hearing" spirals across reggae, funk, orchestral jazz (thanks to excellent horn overdubs), and nasty garage rock. Jekabson trades fours with the saxophonists individually, as distorted guitars, interlocking keyboard lines, and the rhythm section ratchet up the intensity around them. "Standards Reproached" is a perfect fusion of filthy-sounding punk rock and out jazz. Closer "Rooftop Sunrise" sounds like a lost film cue from a chase scene in Across 110th Street. It commences with a nearly stifling closeness before Jekabson's trumpet breaks out amid nasty-sounding surf guitars, pulsating keys, clattering snares, and grooving saxes. For seven years, Throttle Elevator Music functioned as a perfectly balanced collective that explored ephemeral connections between musical genres, eras, and different individual approaches. Their recordings, including, and perhaps especially, Final Floor, document where they met, explored, and emerged with a creative, multi-faceted, singularly expressive voice. © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Jazz - Released June 26, 2020 | Wide Hive Records

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Jazz - Released May 15, 2020 | Young

Even if Becoming isn’t a classic studio album by Kamasi Washington like his ambitious records The Epic and Heaven and Earth, it’s still a score that the saxophonist from Los Angeles makes truly his own. Composed to accompany Nadia Hallgren’s documentary about Michelle Obama’s tour to promote Becoming all over the US, this completely instrumental soundtrack fits with the polished, razor-sharp images of a 100% Netflix production. The Kamasi Washington sound, the orchestral approach and the pure melodies are all there; but the avant-gardist veils are balanced by a much more soulful, almost pop approach. It’s a bit like a slightly watered-down Kamasi, which is still very good if not brilliant, plus the more daring themes such as Provocation will be sure to satisfy the saxophonist's demanding fans... Becoming's production team obviously didn't choose the Californian by chance; he perfectly embodies the American dream under Obama’s presidency. He’s a young African-American activist who grew up in Inglewood, became a sideman for Snoop and Kendrick and ended up as a star of the international jazz scene... Despite the lack of risk-taking or lively improvisations, Kamasi Washington proves that even in a marked out and policed context he can still create his own sounds and stay true to himself. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Jazz - Released January 2, 2017 | Wide Hive Records

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Jazz - Released June 21, 2018 | Young

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Jazz - Released September 6, 2016 | Wide Hive Records

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Jazz - Released May 5, 2015 | Wide Hive Records

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Jazz - Released April 13, 2017 | Young

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R&B - Released June 18, 2021 | Hollywood Records

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Jazz - Released August 31, 2021 | Blackened Recordings - Universal Music

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Kamasi Washington in the magazine