|Album||Harmony Of Difference|
|Year of release||2017|
And then, out of the blue, there was Kamasi Washington with his debutalbum The Epic in 2015. 3 discs, almost 3 hours of music, it was all equally impressive. To me he just magically appeared. I had read his name somewhere, but nothing more. Of course this was just a small part of the story. It appeared he had already self-released three albums. But The Epic was his first internationally released album. It caused a huge sensation, among critics and audiences alike.
Kamasi Washington is a jazz saxophone player, who is classified as a modern free jazz musician. He is frequently asked to participate on other people’s records. Just like Thundercat (who also released a beautiful record this year) he knows with whom he should participate. The list is long and impressive: Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Lauryn Hill, Nas, Snoop Dogg, George Duke, Chaka Khan, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Raphael Saadiq, Stanley Clarke, Ryan Adams, Flying Lotus, Run The Jewels & Kendrick Lamar.
In 2017 Kamasi Washington was part of the line-up on the Dutch North Sea Jazz Festival. On the third day of the Festival (July 9th) he was the last act I saw at this year´s edition. On the last but one song he was accompanied by his father. The music sounded different, it seemed more danceable. Rumour had it he was to release an EP this year, which is to be followed by an album in 2018. In april 2017 the song Truth was released, as an appetizer for the EP. A richly orchestrated beautiful song, including a choir.
And now the EP has finally arrived: Harmony Of Difference. On Friday September 29th it was released. The EP consists of 6 songs, which last a just over half an hour. And what a half an hour it has become!
The music was originally written for an exhibition in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. The exhibit was part of a multimedia piece that exemplified that contradiction and opposition can create beauty.
This was illustrated by a number of paintings (by Kamasi Washington’s sister Amani, see above), which, after overlay, formed an abstract image of a face. As accompaniment Kamasi Washington made 5 short musical pieces, which come together in a sixth piece, which is a synthesis of the previous five pieces.
That sixth piece, Truth, was released earlier this year as part of a short film by director A.G. Rojas (also part of the Whitney exhibit).
There are pieces on this EP that slightly remind of The Epic, but the overall mood here is different. It is soulful, funky and yet undisputedly jazz.
All music composed, arranged and conducted by Kamasi Washington.
Based on this EP I can hardly wait for the scheduled album next year. Beautiful EP this Harmony Of Difference. Highly recommended!
Amani Washington Paintings image: wetransfer.com
Kamasi Washington image: wetransfer.com
Kamasi Washington – North Sea Jazz 2017 image: Dimitri Hakke
Kamasi Washington – Harmony Of Difference & Backcover images: facebook.com/KamasiWashington
My hope is that witnessing the beautiful harmony created by merging different musical melodies will help people realize the beauty in our own differences.