Kamasi Washington - 'Heaven And Earth'

9/10

Over the years, Kamasi Washington has been one of those names that just seems to keep appearing on other artist's records, especially in the hip-hop community. The saxophonist has collaborated with Kendrick Lamar, Run The Jewels, Thundercat, Flying Lotus and many more in the last few years, and has been able to bring his unique take on jazz and soul music to a more contemporary audience in the process. And now he returns with one of his more ambitious projects, his latest double-album 'Heaven And Earth'.

From the start, it is clear that 'Heaven And Earth' is a concept record of sorts. While there is no real underlying theme to each of the LPs, there is a distinct contrast between the direction of the two sides. The first half is a real fanfare of a piece. With a strong choir and orchestral accompaniment, Washington unleashes a truly uplifting collection of material that manages to sooth the soul at almost every stage. While the second effort sees him delve more into his jazz roots, opting for more experimental pieces that look to define his talent as a leading saxophone player.

Yet while the two sides are vastly different in direction, Kamasi Washington's almost impeccable songwriting has been able to bridge the two together, making for an emotional journey that builds throughout the first set before slowly calming you down during the second. An absolutely wonderful release that really sets him apart from almost everything else in the mainstream zeitgeist right now.

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