Originally posted on robfields.com.

Second week of wearing out this Kamasi Washington album, The Epic.

I now see why Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly sounded like a free jazz album: It’s thanks to this guy’s influence. And–on a slightly random, but still impressive note–think about this: Washington runs a dectet!  Who does that these days?  Well, depending on where you catch them, there can be a lot of people in Greg Tate and Jared Nickerson’s Burnt Sugar.

Lots of wide-ranging sounds here. It’s another album, like Kendrick’s (again), that feels like it was made of this moment of ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬. There’s an urgency that sets the album blazing from jump. In addition to “Re Run Home”, track below is one of my favorites thus far.

Side question: Are we in the midst of a “jazz for the 21st century” moment? In addition to Burnt Sugar and Kamasi Washington, I think of guys like Gregory Porter, Jose James, Christian Scott, James Brandon Lewis, Carl Hancock Rux (have you heard his album Homeostasis?). There’s something about the musical adventurousness combined with a high level of musicianship that makes all of these artists stand out.  Yes, musically, I know there’re been a bunch of bad muthafuckas out here. But taken together, there seems like there’s a new cohort that’s breathing new life into what we call jazz, making it more of the moment, more current.

Next question: Who are the women of this generation in this mix?  Matana Roberts, perhaps.  Some people have also suggested Esperanza Spalding, but I don’t find her music that interesting.

Anyway, enjoy this beautiful take on the Debussy classic.

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Rob Fields is the founder and publisher of Bold As Love Magazine. Follow him on Twitter at @robfields.

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