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All Songs +1: 'Epic' Jazz From Kamasi Washington

Kamasi Washington's appropriately-named new album, <em>The Epic</em>, is out now.
Courtesy of the artist
Kamasi Washington's appropriately-named new album, The Epic, is out now.

Even if you don't know anything about jazz, it's quite possible you've heard the music of saxophonist Kamasi Washington: That's him on the latest albums by Kendrick Lamar and Flying Lotus. But that's only the very tip of his iceberg. His new album The Epic, just released on Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label, is a 3-CD, nearly three-hour effort performed by a 10-piece band, strings and a choir. Washington is now in his early 30s, but he's known his core band since high school, many from before then, and you can hear that connection in how well its many members listen to each other.

For this week's All Songs +1 podcast, Bob Boilen is joined by NPR Music producer Patrick Jarenwattananon, who works on the Jazz Night In America radio show and webcast series, to discuss the new album and listen to the song "Final Thought." Jazz Night filmed the appropriately epic release party for The Epic in Los Angeles, where Washington performed the entire album with strings, a choir and several special guests. We'll present highlights from the concert next Wednesday, May 27 at 9 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.