Best of 2017 #44: Kamasi Washington – “Harmony of Difference” (Young Turks Recordings)


After the explosion set off on the jazz scene by Kamasi Washington‘s 2015 masterwork The Epic, it was inevitable that the follow-up might not be received with the same jolt of electricity.  That’s okay.  An excess of hype has a strange way of skewing perceptions and altering the interface with whatever is right there in front of us.  It’s rather refreshing to be able to experience Washington’s new release in something of a vacuum.  And though its scale is dramatically pared down from the crazily sprawling three-disc The Epic, it’s no less enjoyable.  Harmony of Difference keeps in line with The Epic, exploring convergences between spiritual, cosmic, and post-bop with a series of dramatic harmonic builds, catchy melodies and contemporary grooves.  There’s a joyfulness to this music that eclipses its curious forms of expression, and, ultimately, that’s why this music carries like it does.  There’s something special going on here, and it’s a hopeful thing that Washington isn’t yet done exploring this particular vision.

Music from Los Angeles, CA.

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