NPR Music

First Listen
9:03 pm
Sun April 26, 2015

First Listen: Kamasi Washington, 'The Epic'

Kamashi Washington's new album, The Epic, comes out May 5.
Mike Park Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon April 27, 2015 1:28 pm

The word "epic" sits cheerily amid the most overused hyperbole of our age. Teenage bros proclaim their recent "pretty epic" mild successes; sports commentators call anything which ends dramatically an "epic game"; the Internet-literate are quick to point out an "epic FAIL." But what else do you call a three-CD, nearly three-hour album anchored by a 10-piece jazz band, featuring a 32-piece orchestra and 20-member choir, and driven by the daydream of an imaginary martial arts grandmaster?

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
5:05 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

The Bad Plus Joshua Redman At Detroit Jazz Festival

Reid Anderson, Joshua Redman, Dave King and Ethan Iverson.
David Jacobs Courtesy of the artist

Saxophonist Joshua Redman and the collaborative trio The Bad Plus both stand among the most celebrated, thoughtful and prominent jazz acts of the last couple decades. That, and their constrasting aesthetic sensibilities, made it at least news when they first got together in 2011. As it turns out, that collaboration bore lasting fruit: After a series of gigs last summer, they went into the studio with each others' tunes to record The Bad Plus Joshua Redman (say it out loud), to be released in late May.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
5:04 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Kamasi Washington's 'The Epic' In Concert

Kamasi Washington.
Courtesy of the artist

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.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
5:02 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Celebrating Joe Temperley In Concert

Joe Temperley and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
Frank Stewart Jazz at Lincoln Center

For 25 years, the baritone saxophone chair of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra has been held by a one Joe Temperley. The Scottish musician, now 85, carries tons of credits to his C.V., especially with big bands: Thad Jones-Mel Lewis, Woody Herman, Buddy Rich, Clark Terry and — most notably — the Duke Ellington Orchestra.

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Jazz Night In America: Wednesday Night Webcasts
5:00 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Vijay Iyer Trio At Metropolitan Museum Of Art

The Vijay Iyer trio.
Barbara Rigon Courtesy of the artist

The pianist and composer Vijay Iyer frames his new trio recording, Break Stuff, around the idea of musical breaks: "a break in music is still music: a span of time in which to act," he writes. Formally, he's referring to breakbeats and other musical breakdowns, but more generally, Iyer's trio exploits opportunities to rupture convention.

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