Tag Archives: Kamasi Washington

Dwight Trible is a Bridge Between Two Generations of Jazz

Dwight Trible

Photos by Michelle Shiers

Legendary jazz pianist Horace Tapscott first recorded his composition “Mothership” on the 1982 solo album The Tapscott Sessions Vol. 1. He revisited it on his 1996 album Aiee! The Phantom, turning it into a pounding, gospel-y hard bop number alongside trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, alto saxophonist Abraham Burton, bassist Reggie Workman, and drummer Andrew Cyrille.

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How Brainfeeder Leads The Charge For Esoteric Funk, Hip-Hop, Pop, & Jazz

Brainfeeder

“Brainfeeder,” the opening track on Flying Lotus’s 2008 album, Los Angeles, pulses with a sense of anticipation. Its flutters of static and sci-fi synths seem to telegraph the idea that something new—something weird, mutant, and markedly different from the hip-hop aesthetic of Lotus’s debut, 1983—awaits within. As the album unfolds, Lotus makes good on that promise, delivering a record so groundbreaking that it warped the fabric of electronic music in lasting ways, pushing the subset of instrumental hip-hop known as the beat scene to inventive new vistas.

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Brandon Coleman’s Debut Album is a Bright Mix of L.A. Jazz, Funk, & Soul

Brandon Coleman

Keyboardist Brandon Coleman remembers the time he first met Quincy Jones. “You won’t be able to create a new piece of music,” he remembered the icon telling him. “His sentiment was that we took from the old and created our own new and that’s probably the only way you can do it.” While Coleman understood the essence of what Jones meant, he didn’t completely agree. “I thought it was bullshit, to tell you the truth,” Coleman says now. “I am no cook, and I don’t proclaim to be a good chef, but I can cook. I know that when combining certain ingredients, you can create something really special—and that’s jazz.”

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Brainfeeder Has Come to Bandcamp

Kamasi

In 2008, experimental producer Flying Lotus launched his Brainfeeder label as a means to release sonically challenging music coming from the Los Angeles beat scene. This was two years after Lotus released his impressive debut album, 1983, which introduced the world to his own blend of jazz-inspired hip-hop and electronica. “As a kid I always thought about starting a label,” Lotus told The Fader in 2015. “I was always interested in the business side and I thought it could be a plan B if things didn’t work out.”

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Album of the Day: Ryan Porter, “The Optimist”

Back in 2008, the names Ryan Porter and Kamasi Washington didn’t ring bells with the general public. They performed jazz when the genre wasn’t as popular, seven years before Kendrick Lamar’s avant-rap opus To Pimp A Butterfly helped make it trendy again. Two months after that album’s release, Washington—a Lamar collaborator—dropped his own ambitious project, a triple LP called The Epic, on which the saxophonist explored gospel, soul, and funk in a whopping 173 minutes. It was an immediate hit, and in the years since its release, Washington has become the world’s foremost purveyor of big band, spiritual jazz. Yet 10 years ago, he and Porter were simply trying to make it, and the music collected for Porter’s new album—The Optimist—represents that moment in time.

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The New Age Spirituality of Producer Carlos Niño

Carlos Nino

Carlos Niño both attracts and exudes positivity. He can convince hardened skeptics to try communicating with the dead—a practice for which he claims to have a unique skill. As a musician, Niño’s work is graceful, promoting love and peace throughout the world. His New Age albums with LEAVING Records founder Matthewdavid and spiritual luminary Laraaji has given his solo offerings a cosmic bent, blending meditative jazz with pensive ambient movements and orchestral flourishes.

Niño’s latest album isn’t exactly a solo project. He’s created a group called Carlos Niño & Friends—a rotating cast that helps bring his creative vision to light. Going Home, Niño’s latest “& Friends” release, is an ode to the afterlife, a six-song odyssey that depicts what the spirit endures when the body expires.

“I think that the ‘& Friends’ concept is really about me doing whatever I want, with whoever I want. Just really freeing it up,” Niño says.

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Trombonist Ryan Porter is For the Children

Ryan Porter

Photo by Ruff Draft.

The West Coast Get Down’s month-long recording session in 2012 is already the stuff of jazz legend. Inspired by their packed-house jam sessions at the Piano Bar in West Hollywood, California’s premiere jazz ensemble pooled their money together and rented out a Los Angeles studio for 30 days. Some of the results became iconic jazz records (Kamasi Washington’s The Epic), others more modest, still exhilarating additions to the canon (bassist Miles Mosley’s Uprising). The latest album from Ryan Porter, trombonist in the West Coast Get Down, is also a result of that fruitful month. But when it came time for his contribution to the Get Down canon, Porter had something different in mind. Ryan Porter wanted to make a children’s record.

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Terrace Martin’s Los Angeles: Why His Versatile Jazz Sound Is Perfect for California

Terrace Martin

A hijacked white big rig filled with hazardous material slowly hulks down the 10 East with California Highway Patrol in hot pursuit. Just off Crenshaw sits Terrace Martin, his frequent collaborator Adam Turchin, and myself. We’re passing a joint inside the living room of his brother’s home studio, instinctively transfixed by that most innately Southern California spectacle: the televised car chase. Just another sunny day in L.A.

“Everybody has recorded over here. Kendrick. Wiz Khalifa. Everybody. This is our little bat cave… our honeycomb hideout and personal quarters,” Martin breaks the silence, one eye on the screen, waving his arm about the house.

The interior is filled with scattered guitar cases and trophies, plaques, bikes, and a Sherman Clay piano. A small recording nook contains keyboards and a computer. A Bernie Sanders sign remains on the front lawn.

“I’ve been doing music here since I was young,” he continues. “I stayed over here recording… I lived here.”

If Joan Didion accurately claimed that the city burning is Los Angeles’ deepest image of itself, the car chase represents its most disturbing nightmare. A lingering threat seared into the metropolitan subconscious from OJ in the White Bronco to the suicides that have happened multiple times on live television. The insurrections of 1965 and 1992 were both sparked by car chases that led to savage police brutality. In the world’s entertainment capital, the television networks have long realized this is the cheapest reality show. So when a chase breaks out, every channel instinctively locks in, and by some cultural quirk, we’re compelled to watch and silently hope that the driver somehow escapes.

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