The Epic is saxophonist Kamasi Washington's aptly titled, triple-length, 172-minute debut album for Brainfeeder. He is a veteran of L.A.'s music scene and has played with Gerald Wilson, Harvey Mason, Flying Lotus, and Kendrick Lamar (his horn is prominently featured on To Pimp a Butterfly), to name but a few. Most of his bandmates have played together since high school, and it shows. There are two drummers (including Ronald Bruner), two bassists (including Stephen "Thundercat" Bruner on electric), two keyboardists, trumpet, trombone, and vocals (Patrice Quinn). In various settings, they are supported by a string orchestra and full choir conducted by Miguel Atwood-Ferguson. Washington composed 13 of these 17 tunes; he also meticulously arranged and produced them. At just over six to nearly 15 minutes, the jams leave room for engaged improvisation. The Epic is based on a concept, though it's unnecessary to grasp in order to enjoy. The music reflects many inspirations – John Coltrane, Horace Tapscott's Pan-African People's Arkestra, Azar Lawrence's Prestige period, Donald Byrd's and Eddie Gale's jazz and choir explorations, Pharoah Sanders' pan global experiments, Afro-Latin jazz, spiritual soul, and DJ culture.
This fall, trumpeter and composer Josef Leimberg will launch his debut full-length Astral Progressions. Hitting vinyl prints and digital formats with the Alpha Pup Records jazz imprint World Galaxy, Astral Progressions is a powerful record in the canon of 21st century music. It also continues the momentum Leimberg achieved on the Kendrick Lamar Grammy Award winning album To Pimp A Butterfly. A hybrid state of jazz fusion, world music, R&B and golden era hip hop instrumentalism. Josef Leimberg has created a rich tapestry of sound that fits right in with the resurgence of progressive music in the 2010’s, launching out on his own terms after an impressive career of guest work.