Saxophonist and composer Kamasi Washington, 34, has been working on releasing his now three-CD, nearly three-hour, choir-and-strings-assisted album The Epic for the better part of five years now. Even longer, if you consider how long his 10-piece working band has known each other: Most of its members, known collectively as The Next Step or The West Coast Get Down, have known each other since at least high school decades ago in South Central Los Angeles, and in some instances well before that. Even as their diverse careers have made it difficult to focus exclusively on this band — Washington is, for instance, the saxophone player heard on the new Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar albums — they’ve all continually committed to experimenting with a brand of jazz that resonates with their own generation’s lived experience.
Jazz Night In America features Kamasi Washington and the music of The Epic at its release party, and in its full glory. From the Regent Theater in Downtown L.A., Washington presents his new album with his working band, a choir, a string section and plenty of special guests.
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