Pundits and talking heads say that traditional band-based rock music is dead, and if we’re gonna look back at the fossil record, then jazz has been calcified for a couple of decades. But, like most things, the ‘experts’ have painted the wrong picture. Still, I wouldn’t have put much money on heading to Royale for a jazz show and finding the room packed to the rafters, but that’s what happened. And in a refreshing take on the usual shows I attend, the crowd was pretty well varied, in age and racial makeup.
Kamasi Washington is a leader, a quiet leader but one that carries himself with self-awareness, self-control, and unwavering conviction. Hot on the heels of Heaven and Earth, his massively sprawling five record set, the knit-cap and robe-clad sax man could only play a fraction of that magnus opus. He chose wisely, with “The Space Travelers Lullaby” echoing the pro-African American views of astro black pioneer Sun Ra, and a rousing “Fists Of Fury” closing out the regular set. In between, the rallying cry of Terence Blanchard’s “Malcolm’s Theme” made it plainly clear that the message and the music were inseparable. “Diversity is not something to be tolerated, but celebrated.” Indeed.
Photos of the show:
Created with flickr slideshow.