Heaven & Earth

Heaven & Earth

by Kamasi WashingtonKamasi Washington


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Kamasi Washington arrived on the international jazz scene from Los Angeles with a bang after the release of 2015's three-disc, three-hour The Epic. While he'd been around for a decade, playing with Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar -- whose To Pimp a Butterfly he arranged and played on -- the mammoth project turned him into jazz's perceived savior almost overnight. But he understood his own mission remarkably well and has remained undaunted by the hype. His second, double-length long-player Heaven and Earth was announced via tweet: "The Earth side…represents the world as I see it outwardly, the world that I am part of. The Heaven side…represents the world as I see it inwardly, the world that is a part of me." Washington reassembled his Next Step band -- which includes bassists Miles Mosely and Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner, drummers Ronald Bruner, Jr. and Tony Austin, trombonist Ryan Porter, pianist Cameron Graves, keyboardist Brandon Coleman, and vocalist Patrice Quinn -- supplemented by a jazz orchestra, West Coast Get Down, a symphony orchestra, and choir. Heaven and Earth is a major dose of Afro-Futurism. Earth opens with a killer cover of the theme from Bruce Lee's Fist of Fury, retitled in plural here. Quinn and Dwight Trible duet on lead vocals backed by a soaring, sweeping choir atop a cooking Latin jazz groove complete with montunos from Graves and a raw-boned solo from Washington (who is on fire throughout). The other cover is a funky take on Freddie Hubbard's "Hub-Tones," with layers of propulsive Latin rhythms. Dontae Winslow's jagged trumpet solo cuts across the mix before Washington's tenor answers. Of the originals, "Connections" is a space jazz embrace of hard bop and 20th century West Coast jazz, with great solos from Porter and Winslow, while "Testify" owes as much to Caribbean grooves and soul as jazz. Heaven commences with the spectral "The Space Traveler's Lullaby," with its gorgeous warm brass and reeds, swelling symphony strings, and soaring wordless chorus sounds like the Gil Evans and Sun Ra orchestras playing together. "Vi Lua Vi Sol" features a vocoder vocal from Coleman, with Porter blowing fills and a beefy solo, swooping synth lines atop Afrobeat drumming, and a popping upright bassline. The breaks and future funk of "Street Fighter Mas" owes equally to Miles Davis, Lamar, and Earth Wind and Fire as the choir extrapolates on the harmonics before Washington's skittering R&B-drenched solo. "Song for the Fallen" weds angular avant-jazz and future funk to wiry fusion and a multivalent rhythmic attack -- with the choir adding a celestial bent. Heaven and Earth is more a refinement of the ideas expressed on The Epic than an entirely new paradigm. There is less wandering, more focus, more inquiry and directed movement, as well as an abundance of colorful tonal and harmonic contrasts. More than anything else, it establishes Washington as a composer and arranger of dizzying potential and still underscores his twin rep as a soloist and jazz conceptualist. [The CD version contains a third, hidden bonus disc in the middle panel (it has to be slit open) containing three more originals -- "The Secret of Jinsinson," "My Family," and "Agents of Multiverse," plus covers of Carole King's "Will You Love Me Tomorrow" and Stan Vincent's "Ooh Child."]

Product Details

Release Date: 06/22/2018
Label: Young Turks
UPC: 0889030017628
catalogNumber: 762
Rank: 39665

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Kamasi Washington   Primary Artist,Tenor Saxophone
Paul Cartwright   Violin
Yvette Devereaux   Violin
Taylor Graves   Choir, Chorus
Greg Martin   Oboe
Tracy Wannomae   Clarinet
Chad Jackson   Viola
Peter Jacobson   Cello
Tony Austin   Drums
Adrienne Woods   Cello
Dwight Trible   Vocals
Rocío Marron   Violin
Tom Lea   Viola
Dontae Winslow   Trumpet
Stephen Bruner   Electric Bass
Cameron Graves   Piano,Choir, Chorus
Ginger Murphy   Cello
Caroline Buckman   Viola
Thalma de Freitas   Choir, Chorus
Mashica Winslow   Choir, Chorus
Molly Rogers   Viola
Dominic Thiroux   Upright Bass
Brandon Coleman   Organ,Keyboards,Vocoder
Steven Wayne   Choir, Chorus
Rickey Washington   Flute
Patrice Quinn   Vocals,Choir, Chorus
Reiko Nakano   Violin
Ryan Porter   Trombone
Marc Bolin   Tuba
Robert "Sput" Searight   Drums
Miles Mosley   Electric Bass,Upright Bass
Carlitos Del Puerto   Upright Bass
Ronald Bruner   Drums
Terrace Martin   Alto Saxophone
Gabe Noel   Electric Bass,Upright Bass
Nia Andrews   Choir, Chorus
Allakoi Peete   Percussion
Amy Sanchez   French Horn
Jonathan Pinson   Drums
Ray Suen   Violin
Laura Brenes   French Horn
Dustin Warren   Choir, Chorus
Sonnet Simmons   Choir, Chorus
Dawn Norfleet   Choir, Chorus
Brittany Cotto   Viola
Jen Simone   Violin
Robert Miller   Drums
Yvette Holzwarth   Violin
Landon Jones   Viola
Amber Joy Wyman   Bassoon
Angelo D. Johnson   Choir, Chorus
Amaya Washington   Choir, Chorus
Jackie Fiske   Choir, Chorus
Jameal Dean   Piano
Kahlil Cummings   Percussion
Morgan Matadero   Viola

Technical Credits

Freddie Hubbard   Composer
Tony Austin   Engineer
James Wong   Composer
Kamasi Washington   Arranger,Composer,Producer,Art Direction
Phil Lee   Layout
Joseph Koo   Composer
Patrice Quinn   Composer
Ryan Porter   Composer
Benjamin Tierney   Engineer
Michael Harris   Engineer

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