The Epic (album)

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The Epic
Kamasi Washington The Epic.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 5, 2015 (2015-05-05)
StudioKingsize Soundlabs
(Los Angeles, California)
GenreJazz
Length173:36
LabelBrainfeeder
ProducerKamasi Washington
Kamasi Washington chronology
Light of the World
(2008)
The Epic
(2015)
Harmony of Difference
(2017)
Singles from The Epic
  1. "Re Run Home"
    Released: March 10, 2015
  2. "Miss Understanding"
    Released: April 8, 2015

The Epic is the major-label debut and overall third studio album by American jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington. It was released on May 5, 2015, through the Brainfeeder record label.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
SourceRating
AnyDecentMusic?7.9/10[1]
Metacritic83/100[2]
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic5/5 stars[3]
Drowned in Sound8/10[4]
Financial Times4/5 stars[5]
The Guardian4/5 stars[6]
The Irish Times5/5 stars[7]
Pitchfork8.6/10[8]
Rolling Stone3.5/5 stars[9]
Uncut8/10[10]

Upon its release, The Epic received positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from critics, the album received an average score of 83, which indicates "universal acclaim", based on 7 reviews.[2] AllMusic critic Thom Jurek described the album as "21st century jazz as accessible as it is virtuosic -- feel matters to Washington," and further wrote, "Holistic in breadth and deep in vision, it provides a way into this music for many, and challenges the cultural conversation about jazz without compromising or pandering."[3] Russell Warfield of Drowned in Sound described the album as "wonderful stuff," further stating that the record "deserves a high score by any standards of evaluation."[4]

The Guardian critic John Fordham, who was positive in his assessment of the album, wrote: "Only a shortage of thematic surprises – given its extravagant length – keeps it from being quite the seismically jazz-changing departure that some admirers are claiming."[6] Seth Colter Walls of Pitchfork awarded the album with "Best New Music" tag, stating: "The Epic actually makes good on its titular promise without bothering to make even a faint-hearted stab in the direction of fulfilling its pre-release hype."[8]

Accolades[edit]

Publication Accolade Year Rank
The Guardian The Best Albums of 2015 2015
Pitchfork The 50 Best Albums of 2015 2015
The 200 Best Albums of the 2010s 2019
Rough Trade Albums of the Year 2015 2015
Stereogum The 50 Best Albums of 2015 2015
The Wire Releases of the Year 1–50 2015
Rolling Stone The 100 Best Albums of the 2010s 2019 82[17]

Track listing[edit]

CD[edit]

All tracks are written by Kamasi Washington, except where noted.

Volume 1: The Plan
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Change of the Guard" 12:15
2."Askim" 12:34
3."Isabelle" 12:12
4."Final Thought" 6:31
5."The Next Step" 14:48
6."The Rhythm Changes"
  • Patrice Quinn
  • Washington
7:45
Total length:66:05
Volume 2: The Glorious Tale
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Miss Understanding" 8:46
2."Leroy and Lanisha" 9:24
3."Re Run" 8:19
4."Seven Prayers" 7:35
5."Henrietta Our Hero"
  • Quinn
  • Washington
7:13
6."The Magnificent 7" 12:48
Total length:54:05
Volume 3: The Historic Repetition
No.TitleWriter(s)Length
1."Re Run Home" 14:06
2."Cherokee"Ray Noble8:14
3."Clair de Lune"Claude Debussy11:07
4."Malcolm's Theme"8:40
5."The Message" 11:11
Total length:53:18

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from vinyl liner notes.

Band

  • Kamasi Washington – tenor saxophone, band leader, arrangement, production (all tracks)
  • Thundercat – electric bass (tracks 1, 2, 5–7, 10, 12, 13, 17)
  • Miles Mosley – upright bass (tracks 1–13, 15–17), electric bass (track 14)
  • Ronald Bruner, Jr. – drums (tracks 3, 4, 6, 7, 10–13, 16, 17)
  • Tony Austin – drums (tracks 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15–17), engineering tracks 1-2, 4-13, 15-17
  • Leon Mobley – percussion (tracks 2–4, 8–10, 17)
  • Cameron Graves – piano (tracks 1–6, 9–13, 15–17), organ (track 8)
  • Brandon Coleman – keyboards (tracks 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 12–14, 17), organ (tracks 3–5, 10–12, 14–16), piano (track 8)
  • Ryan Porter – trombone (tracks 1–10, 12–17)
  • Igmar Thomas – trumpet (track 1, 2, 5–7, 9, 12, 13, 17)
  • Dwight Trible – lead vocals (track 16)
  • Patrice Quinn – lead vocals (tracks 6, 11, 14, 16)

Additional musicians

  • Robert Miller – drums (track 14)
  • Shaunte Palmer – trombone (track 11)
  • Todd Simon – trumpet (track 11)
  • Brian Rosemeyer – engineering tracks 3, 14

Ensemble(tracks 1, 2, 5–7, 9, 11, 12, 14)

  • Neel Hammond – violin
  • Tylana Renga Enomoto – violin
  • Paul Cartwright – violin
  • Jennifer Simone – violin
  • Lucia Micarelli – violin
  • Molly Rogers – viola
  • Andrea Whitt – viola
  • Artyom Manukyan – cello
  • Ginger Murphy – cello
  • Dawn Norfleet – choir vocals
  • Thalma de Freitas – choir vocals
  • Maiya Sykes – choir vocals
  • Gina Manziello – choir vocals
  • Patrice Quinn – choir vocals
  • Natasha F. Agrama – choir vocals
  • Dwight Trible – choir vocals
  • Steven Wayne – choir vocals
  • Taylor Graves – choir vocals
  • Charles Jones – choir vocals
  • Jason Marales – choir vocals
  • Dexter Story – choir vocals
  • Cameron Graves – choir vocals
  • Tracy Carter – choir vocals

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (2015) Peak
position
US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard)[18] 2
US Independent Albums (Billboard)[19] 18
US Top Jazz Albums (Billboard)[20] 3

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (2016) Position
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[21] 145

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Germany (BVMI)[22] Platinum 20,000double-dagger

double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "The Epic by Kamasi Washington reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved December 3, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b "Reviews for The Epic by Kamasi Washington". Metacritic. Retrieved July 1, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b Jurek, Thom. "The Epic – Kamasi Washington". AllMusic. Retrieved November 16, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ a b Warfield, Russell (May 5, 2015). "Album Review: Kamasi Washington – The Epic". Drowned in Sound. Retrieved July 1, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ Hobart, Mike (May 2, 2015). "Kamasi Washington: The Epic — review". Financial Times. Retrieved May 10, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ a b Fordham, John (June 18, 2015). "Kamasi Washington: The Epic review – a spectacular new jazz odyssey". The Guardian. Retrieved July 1, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Carroll, Jim (July 3, 2015). "Kamasi Washington: The Epic | Album Review". The Irish Times. Retrieved May 10, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ a b Walls, Seth Colter (May 8, 2015). "Kamasi Washington: The Epic". Pitchfork. Retrieved July 1, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  9. ^ Hermes, Will (June 2, 2015). "The Epic". Rolling Stone. Retrieved July 1, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  10. ^ Lewis, John (July 2015). "Kamasi Washington: The Epic". Uncut (218): 84.
  11. ^ "The Best Albums of 2015". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. December 2, 2015. Retrieved December 14, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. ^ "The 50 Best Albums of 2015". Pitchfork. December 16, 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ "The 200 Best Albums of the 2010s". Pitchfork. October 8, 2019. Retrieved October 9, 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  14. ^ "Albums of the Year 2015". roughtrade.com. Retrieved 2015-12-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  15. ^ "The 50 Best Albums Of 2015". stereogum.com. 2015-12-01. Retrieved 2015-12-10. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  16. ^ "2015 Rewind: Releases of the Year 1–50". The Wire. No. 383. London. January 2016. p. 32 – via Exact Editions. (subscription required)
  17. ^ Grow, Jon Dolan,Brittany Spanos,Simon Vozick-Levinson,Rob Sheffield,Charles Holmes,Christian Hoard,Joseph Hudak,Elias Leight,Suzy Exposito,Will Hermes,Angie Martoccio,David Browne,Hank Shteamer,Jon Freeman,Claire Shaffer,Brenna Ehrlich,Jonathan Bernstein,Jon Blistein,Nick Catucci,Brendan Klinkenberg,Danny Schwartz,Kory; Portwood, Jerry (2019-12-03). "The 100 Best Albums of the 2010s". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  18. ^ "Kamasi Washington Chart History (Heatseekers Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  19. ^ "Kamasi Washington Chart History (Independent Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  20. ^ "Kamasi Washington Chart History (Top Jazz Albums)". Billboard. Retrieved January 24, 2021.
  21. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 2016 Albums". Hung Medien. Retrieved 29 December 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  22. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Kamasi Washington; 'The Epic')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 23 December 2018.

External links[edit]