Millennials everywhere, beware! The word “epic” has finally found its rightful place in the modern world and it has little to do with your festival experience or favorite burrito joint. Kamasi Washington Dectet, a tight-knit jazz regiment headed by the masterful composer and saxophonist best known for his work with Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus, dropped their 3-disc debut The Epic (Brainfeeder Records, 2015) this Tuesday, a timely release just under two months after To Pimp a Butterfly (Interscope Records, 2015) took music media by a storm and brought jazz back into the limelight. Washington has been in the touring game since college (to wit: Snoop Dogg, Lauryn Hill, Raphael Saadiq, Chaka Khan), and spent much of his time back home in LA recording with ten collaborators, and with Flying Lotus’ help would record 190 songs in one month in 2011. Kamasi and his cohorts go way back, but the dectet is looking forward, combining their influences and training to put jazz on the radar for listeners across the board. Four years after the Kamasi Washington Dectet’s Silver Lake recording marathon, a short list of 17 tracks spanning three hours would be compiled and released as one of the most ambitious, genre-spanning debuts to be made this century. The music is free-flowing, expressive, evocative of jazz godheads like Trane and Sun Ra but transcending classic quotations for something near surreal — it’s skyward-looking music, it’s beyond what is now. And that, friends, is EPIC.
Omar Sosa and his group have released a new CD entitled Eggun- a tribute to Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue. Melodies are constructed by taking bits and pieces of Miles’ various solos throughout the album and, in the process, a new tune is created. It stretches the boundaries of what the music on Kind of Blue previously held while at the same time it takes the sound forward, paying perfect homage to the original. When played live with his sextet at Kuumbwa Jazz in Santa Cruz last April, it brought down the house. The show was sold out, however it was one of those rare nights when the standing room people didn’t grump while they were grooving. Hear tracks from Eggun on the Stirrin’ The Soup Jazz Collective Wednesday afternoons from 2-4pm on KZSC.
-Jared Frazier, KZSC Jazz Director
Enjoy this little shoutout from Omar’s show that you might be hearing over the airwaves in the near future:
If you weren’t at Kuumbwa Jazz Center for progressive jazz-fusion group Synapse(!) last Saturday night, you surely missed out! The dynamic, sharp styling of saxophonist Nikki Mokover and trumpeter Nick Bianchini was backed by an amazing rhythm section; featuring percussion monster Jaime Sanchez, keyboardist Ittai Rosenbaum and bassist Robert Ross. Oliver Whitcroft provided live sampling and looping throughout the show as well. The 1.5 hour set took the entire audience by force- with wild dancing, cheering and general mind expansion as a result.
Synapse(!) is “a cultural culmination of musicians whose diverse backgrounds each add a unique flavor to a fresh yet mature sound. Synapse is alchemy, melting multiple genres into one in pursuance of solid gold.”
Club Kuumbwa is a concert series launched by Kuumbwa Jazz Center’s own Bennett Jackson, and strives to be a venue that provides a casual setting to showcase local/independent artists, all while being accessible to a larger community audience at a lower cover charge. Bennett encourages up-and-coming artists to contact them for booking, and new dates continue to be added, so don’t miss the next Club Kuumbwa Show!
If you didn’t know, today, April 30th, is International Jazz Day! Around the world, musicians and listeners alike are celebrating the both the historical and contemporary significance of America’s greatest musical treasure. Featuring performances by renowned artists all over the world, think of today as Christmas for jazz lovers worldwide. The hosts of Wednesday’s 2-4pm jazz show Stirrin’ the Soup are ecstatic to share this day with you, so tune in on KZSC to hear some great jazz this afternoon!
Courtesy of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), please enjoy the International Jazz Day 2014 Global Concert in Osaka, Japan below via recorded live stream:
As we barrel towards summer, don’t let the heat get to your head, hepcats. Stay cool and enjoy what’s swinging high this week in KZSC’s Jazz Department.
TOP TEN CHARTS:
1 ALFREDO RODRIGUEZ The Invasion Parade Mack Avenue
2 LISA HILTON Kaleidoscope Self-Released
3 KRIS BOWERS Heroes + Misfits Concord Jazz
4 BAD PLUS The Rite Of Spring Sony Masterworks
5 IAN CAREY AND BEN STOLOROW Duocracy Kabocha
6 BRAD MEHLDAU AND MARK GUILIANA Mehliana: Taming The Dragon Nonesuch
7 JANICE BORLA GROUP Promises To Burn
8 RUDY ROYSTON 303 Greenleaf
9 ULYSSES OWENS Onward And Upward D-Clef
10 AMY CERVINI Jazz Country Anzic
ADDS THIS WEEK:
1 BRIAN BLADE AND THE FELLOWSHIP BAND Landmarks Blue Note
2 MO’FONE Fonology Evander
3 JESSICA WILLIAMS With Love Origin
4 LENNY MARCUS TRIO Second Set Self-Released
5 REGINALD CYNTJE Elements Of Life Self-Released
Brian Blade and his fellowship of virtuosos returns with the Brian Blade Fellowship Band’s fourth studio album to date, entitled Landmarks. It’s a pensive, dramatic collection of tasteful compositions – from spatial, spiritual ballads to furious out-bop concourses – with Blade’s dynamic drum-work that will blast you into aural outer-space. Featuring an instrumentation rarely heard in this capacity, get ready for some Eric Dolphy-esque rips on the bass clarinet and soprano saxophone – courtesy of Myron Walden and Melvin Butler. If I’m not convincing enough, check it out yourself in stores or hear it extensively on Stirrin’ the Soup, Wednesdays 2-4pm. Until then, here’s the Brian Blade Fellowship laying it down at New York’s Village Vanguard last year. This guy sure loves to play.
1 LISA HILTON Kaleidoscope Self-Released
2 AMBROSE AKINMUSIRE The Imagined Savior Is Far Easier To Paint Blue Note
3 BRAD MEHLDAU AND MARK GUILIANA Mehliana: Taming The Dragon Nonesuch
4 CATHERINE RUSSELL Bring It Back Jazz Village
5 BOSSA ZUZU Under Leaves Under Sky
6 NIR FELDER Golden Age OKeh
7 MONTY ALEXANDER Harlem Kingston Express Volume 2 Motema
8 PETE MILLS Sweet Shadow Cellar Live
9 RUDY ROYSTON 303 Greenleaf
10 SHAWN MAXWELL’S ALLIANCE Shawn Maxwell’s Alliance Chicago Sessions
1 DAVID HAZELTINE For All We Know Smoke Sessions
2 JERRY TACHOIR GROUP Stories Avita
3 NELS CLINE SINGERS Macroscope Mack Avenue
4 MARK BUSELLI Untold Stories oa2
5 VERVE JAZZ ENSEMBLE East End Sojourn
We had the pleasure of interviewing Dan Reckard from neo-Brazilian jazz group BOSSA ZUZU last week. After their fantastic show at Kuumbwa Jazz last wednesday, they are continuing their tour down sunny California promoting their new CD, Under Leaves Under Sky. Check out the group’s website below, give them a listen and catch them live if you can!
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