Now: Kamasi Washington – Harmony of Difference
Kamasi Washington is a Los Angeles based powerhouse musician who has been helping to revive avant garde, cosmic/spiritual jazz. He previous album, the sprawling, two and a half hour, aptly titled, The Epic, is a mind blowing melange of jazz, soul, funk, with sprinkles of several other genres that held together by Washington’s sax, and a host of sympathetic arrangements and players. Alice Coltrane and Pharoh Sanders are clear inspirations.
His current release, labeled as an EP, Harmony in Difference, should be considered not so much a follow up, but a strong, and powerful set on it’s own. Harmony seems to be a conceptual piece around a specific compositional philosophy, but it is does not require any deep thinking to enjoy the syncopated grooves, the horn arrangements, vibes, choir, and pastoral melodies.
Then: Cannoball Adderley Quintet – The Price You Got To Pay To Be Free.
Julian “Cannonball” Adderley, a giant among giants in the world of jazz, was a visionary, and by 1970, when he released the double LP, The Price You Got To Pay To Be Free., he had expanded the scope of his music to include funk, R&B, soul, and rock. This set, which includes a vocal from 15 year Nat Adderley Jr. on the title track, could have been written today, and the message comes across powerfully. The energy never lags through out the four sides, and it is clear Adderley and his band are on a mission. His later releases through the 70’s continued to explore spacey, jazz-rock fusion, with interesting thematic concepts. Fans of the evolution of jazz started in the late 60’s by Miles Davis and others should seek out this album, which received a very good CD mastering as well.