This May 5th, LA saxophonist Kamasi Washington hopes to redefine the boundaries of jazz and music in general with his debut on Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label, entitled The Epic. The album which runs 172-minute long will be released as a three-volume set performed by a 32-piece orchestra and a 20-person choir, with notably Thundercat on bass. Check out the first single from the record, “Re Run Home” below the jump and read more about what inspired the album.
The Epic tells the story of an old man, a warrior, and the guardian to the gates of a city. Two miles below his mountainous perch stands a dojo where a group of young men train night and day. Eventually, the old man expects a challenger to emerge. He hopes for the day of his destruction, for this is the cycle of life. Finally the doors fly open and three young men burst forth to challenge the old master. The first man is quick, but not strong enough. The second is quick, and strong, but not wise enough. The third stands tall, and overtakes the master. The Changing of the Guard has at long last been achieved. But then the old man wakes up. He looks down at the dojo and realizes he’s been daydreaming. The dojo below exists, but everyone in training is yet a child. By the time they grow old enough to challenge the old man, he has disappeared.
This story told through music is a metaphor for the state of jazz music today and illustrates Washington’s noble mission: “to remove jazz from the shelf of relics and make it new, unexpected, and dangerous again”.
“He just plays the craziest shit, man. I mean, everything — the past, present, the future,” Flying Lotus says, whose family lineage includes one of Washington’s direct musical forebears, John Coltrane. “It’s hard to find unique voices in this music. Especially in jazz, more so lately, everybody is trying to do the same shit. I don’t want to hear ‘My Favorite Things’ anymore… What I am hearing is a leader among artists.”