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The Epic

by Kamasi Washington

Released May 5, 2015 via Brainfeeder

Originally reviewed May 14, 2020

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Change of the Guard (22%), Chair de Lune (16%), The Magnificent 7 (16%)

Kamasi Washington is a musician that could be described any number of ways. His style is exuberant, his compositions are lush, and his music is thought-provoking. One thing he could not be described as is “unambitious.” The Epic, in all of its three “discs” and nearly three hour runtime, is an undertaking that few artists would dare embark upon. However, Washington does a spectacular job of bestowing a vast pallet of consummate sounds and painting them with clear intention. The mountains he creates are crisp and dizzying, and the valleys provide balance with grounded resolutions that can make the hair on your arms stiffen. Kamasi Washington is an artist like no other, and though it might be considered his magnum opus, The Epic is an album that marks a revitalization of jazz that was desperately needed. Projects like this tend to stay in our hearts for a very long time. – Pax (8.9/10)

Emulating both its name and image in magnitude, The Epic stands as an unavoidable talking point when it comes to 21st century jazz. The rare triple album embarks on a conceptual journey in which Washington and his bandmates introduce a myriad of instruments and jazz stylings. Leaving no stone unturned, the ensemble rips through nearly three hours of wondrous impassioned playing, with vocal guests popping in occasionally. Powerful, spiritual, blissful, and magnificent, so many emotions arise to sustain the voyage. The sheer volume and level of excellence this gigantic undertaking presents places it on a shortlist of jazz albums to garner mass interest since the genre fell from its favorable peak in the '60s. – Enth (8.5/10)

Not many albums can use the term epic and have it be fitting, but Kamasi Washington’s three hour journey through jazz’s history most definitely deserves said title. Washington leads his players through various stylings of jazz all without fault. From hard bop to deep spiritual, the group effortlessly displays their skills with a dizzying array of genres, crafting a world that both pays tribute to and advances jazz. The Epic brought a lot of attention back to jazz and helped to spark more public interest in the genre once again, which is not something that’s easy to do. – Jared (8.5/10)

Cam: 9/10 | Hadley: 9/10 | Daniel: 8.8/10 | Enth: 8.5/10

Dominick: 8/10 | Jared: 8/10


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