Nate Chinen’s Playing Changes Reviewed

Source: Slate.

The first name that appears in Chinen’s first chapter is Kamasi Washington, the young Los Angeles tenor sax player whose work with rap star Kendrick Lamar and his own fittingly titled triple album, The Epic, have catapulted him into the surprising position of playing John Coltrane–influenced cosmic-jazz shows before crowds of tens of thousands. As Chinen writes, Washington “emerged as jazz’s most persuasive embodiment of new black pride at a moment when few forces in American culture felt more pressing.” He’s a perfect example of how the multiculturally minded, socially conscious, and emotionally acute concerns of much 21st-century jazz could appeal perfectly to the moods of many young listeners today, if it could just find channels to reach them.