RogerF

Kamasi Washington - Heaven and Earth

67 posts in this topic

It’s the digital age, consonantal redundancies fazing out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He's playing in Dallas and Houston for the first time on September 29 and 30; however, when you click on the ticket link from his website, you find a link to a concert of Florence and the Machine. Apparently he is the opening act, but you have to click a couple of times to find that buried information. Given that tickets with a seat are $100, I'm skipping it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was thinking about this some more. Kamasi Washington is not mining an area of pop music in a cynical fashion. I am surprised that his music has gained any audience.

What a lot of his music sounds like to me is an early 1970s Pharoah Sanders album with strings and a chorus added. Kamasi is not as good as Pharoah at playing the saxophone. Some of Kamasi’s sidemen are quite good though.

in this era of dance-pop with electronic backgrounds, country/pop, and rap, it is NOT a commercialized move to resurrect the spiritual jazz of the early 1970s and add strings and choruses to it.

in fact, I can hardly think of a less likely way to build an audience today.

To me, Kamasi has had a very flukish lucky break, and there is no need to be mean to him or attack him.

 

 

 

 

5 minutes ago, kh1958 said:

He's playing in Dallas and Houston for the first time on September 29 and 30; however, when you click on the ticket link from his website, you find a link to a concert of Florence and the Machine. Apparently he is the opening act, but you have to click a couple of times to find that buried information. Given that tickets with a seat are $100, I'm skipping it.

That is a very medium level price for a pop concert these days. I suspect that much of the audience will not be in the venue for Kamasi’s opening set, or that they will ignore it if they happen to be there.

Edited by Hot Ptah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What I find strange is when jazz journalists hop on the bandwagon of a new artist and then some of them imply you are unworthy if you don't join the crowd. One veteran writer made such a gripe about fellow writers during the annual JJA poll who omitted Nicole Mitchell from their annual nominating ballots. I reminded him that unless one is serviced by every label or artist, it is hard to justify voting for someone one hasn't heard or investing in their music. I don't make a habit of constantly researching unfamiliar music online, as I have a huge backlog of music awaiting an initial hearing, there aren't enough hours in the day even though I've been retired from full time work for over three years. To this day I've yet to receive any of Kamasi Washington's releases and from what I've read I probably would not be interested in any of them.

That said, I don't begrudge anyone who enjoy's Kamasi's music and champions him as among the best on his instrument.

 

Edited by Ken Dryden
Fixed typos

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I personally find the whole damned thing to be much ado about nothing. 

I’ve heard his work. He’s a talented cat, but his music isn’t for me. 

I don’t feel the need to trash him, or his audience. 

Reminds me of people trashing Wynton because of the way he was propped up in the industry. 

Oh well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Ken Dryden said:

What I find strange is when jazz journalists hop on the bandwagon of a new artist and then some of them imply you are unworthy if you don't join the crowd. One veteran writer made such a gripe about fellow writers during the annual JJA poll who omitted Nicole Mitchell from their annual nominating ballots. I reminded him that unless one is serviced by every label or artist, it is hard to justify voting for someone one hasn't heard or investing in their music. I don't make a habit of constantly researching unfamiliar music online, as I have a huge backlog of music awaiting an initial hearing, there aren't enough hours in the day even though I've been retired from full time work for over three years. To this day I've yet to receive any of Kamasi Washington's releases and from what I've read I probably would not be interested in any of them.

That said, I don't begrudge anyone who enjoy's Kamasi's music and champions him as among the best on his instrument.

 

This post makes an interesting point.

There is Kamasi and his music. Then there is a different topic, jazz journalists’ reactions to his music.

Are we discussing his music itself, or are we discussing journalists’ reactions to his music?

From what I can tell, I am the only one who has posted on this thread who has actually listened to all of his albums many times. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Ken Dryden said:

What I find strange is when jazz journalists hop on the bandwagon of a new artist and then some of them imply you are unworthy if you don't join the crowd. One veteran writer made such a gripe about fellow writers during the annual JJA poll who omitted Nicole Mitchell from their annual nominating ballots. I reminded him that unless one is serviced by every label or artist, it is hard to justify voting for someone one hasn't heard or investing in their music. I don't make a habit of constantly researching unfamiliar music online, as I have a huge backlog of music awaiting an initial hearing, there aren't enough hours in the day even though I've been retired from full time work for over three years. To this day I've yet to receive any of Kamasi Washington's releases and from what I've read I probably would not be interested in any of them.

That said, I don't begrudge anyone who enjoy's Kamasi's music and champions him as among the best on his instrument.

 

Looking at this DownBeat's annual Critic's Poll for Album Of The Year ( http://www.downbeat.com/digitaledition/2018/DB1808_CriticsPoll/_art/DB1808_CriticsPoll.pdf ), I would go one step further - it's seems as if many of today's critics only vote for a new recording if it's new and/or unusual. Straight-ahead Jazz does not seem to get much critical acclaim, certainly not at the "voting booth". My favorite Jazz label today is Smoke Sessions Records. Even though they put out several 4 & 5 star rated sessions this past year, not one of them made it into the critic's top 25 or 50 or whatever it is. The label was completely ignored.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Kevin Bresnahan said:

Looking at this DownBeat's annual Critic's Poll for Album Of The Year ( http://www.downbeat.com/digitaledition/2018/DB1808_CriticsPoll/_art/DB1808_CriticsPoll.pdf ), I would go one step further - it's seems as if many of today's critics only vote for a new recording if it's new and/or unusual. Straight-ahead Jazz does not seem to get much critical acclaim, certainly not at the "voting booth". My favorite Jazz label today is Smoke Sessions Records. Even though they put out several 4 & 5 star rated sessions this past year, not one of them made it into the critic's top 25 or 50 or whatever it is. The label was completely ignored.

That’s odd. I kinda get the opposite feeling. Aside from the outstanding Jaimie Branch album (which I would have put at number one on this list), most of that stuff is pretty straight-ahead fare, is it not? 

I’ve certainy heard a lot of fantastic Free Improv albums this year, and none of them showed up, again, aside from the Branch album. 

What are some of your favorite Smoke Sessions albums? I can’t say for certain whether I’ve heard anything from that label. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just going buy what could have made this year's poll, Harold Mabern's "To Love And Be Loved", which was issued late last year, is very very good. It's certainly my favorite recording of the past year. A "making of" video here:

Recently, Smoke Sessions issued a recording by Buster Williams, "Audacity", that's getting good reviews. I don't own it yet, but I've heard a few tracks. Here's one:

Peter Berstein's "Signs Live", which may fall outside outside of this poll's view (issued in late july 2017), is also a great recording.

And finally, Renee Rosnes' "Beloved Of The Sky", while not one of her best dates, is certainly worthy of mention. It's garnered several 5 star reviews across the web, but DB only gave it 3 or 4.

Enough hijacking poor Mr. Washington's thread.... :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
51 minutes ago, Scott Dolan said:

That’s odd. I kinda get the opposite feeling. Aside from the outstanding Jaimie Branch album (which I would have put at number one on this list), most of that stuff is pretty straight-ahead fare, is it not? 

I’ve certainy heard a lot of fantastic Free Improv albums this year, and none of them showed up, again, aside from the Branch album. 

Depends on what you call straight-ahead.  You're right - there isn't a lot of hard-core avant-garde stuff on there.  But there also isn't a lot of stuff that would have been considered "mainstream" in pre-1960 jazz.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does anyone take the Down Beat Critics Poll seriously? I gave up on it literally decades ago. I do not have any reaction to any of the choices in the Down Beat Critics' Poll, because I have long thought that it was pretty much a joke.

 

Edited by Hot Ptah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, Guy Berger said:

Depends on what you call straight-ahead.  You're right - there isn't a lot of hard-core avant-garde stuff on there.  But there also isn't a lot of stuff that would have been considered "mainstream" in pre-1960 jazz.

OK, I get what you’re saying. 

And thanks, Kevin. I’m going to give all of those a spin. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, Scott Dolan said:

OK, I get what you’re saying. 

And thanks, Kevin. I’m going to give all of those a spin. 

If you're an Amazon Prime member, most of the Smoke Sessions catalog is free to stream.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
22 minutes ago, Kevin Bresnahan said:

If you're an Amazon Prime member, most of the Smoke Sessions catalog is free to stream.

Thanks, but no need. I’ve already found all four of them on Apple Music. :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

See if they have Bobby Watson's "Made In America" listed there. Another nice Smoke Sessions recording that would've been eligible for this poll but was ignored. While I like Bobby's older stuff a bit more, this is well worth spinning at least once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, both Heads of State Smoke  Sessions releases are good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

They do, Kevin. 

Currently enjoying the Mabern set. Alexander is a really good tenor man. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.