kamasi washington - "the truth" / by Zack Free

my first time at the whitney was only a few weeks ago, and it so happened that i made it in time to experience the 78th installment of their biennial exhibit. the museum's website describes the exhibit as one that addresses the "racial tensions, economic inequities, and polarizing politics" of the times in which we live, and, accordingly, the show was a powerful experience. in the midst of the chilly slabs of reality on the whitney's storied walls, however, was a warm, honeyed stream of jazz that drifted out from a corner. i was immediately drawn to its sonic luminescence, and was thrilled to discover that the saxophone playing coy with my ears was courtesy of no other than kamasi washington. "the truth" is the world's first official taste of the harmony of difference, the ep that, paired with a film directed by a.g. rojas, is currently on exhibit at the whitney. in a technical sense, it preserves the kinetic musicianship that made washington's triple-lp debut the epic so thrilling; among the instruments featured are piano, guitar, bass, drums, vibraphone, brass (including kamasi's saxophone, of course), strings, and synthesizer, all intensified by a monophonic choir part that lifts the song to unbelievable heights. however, the track's thirteen and a half minutes are surprisingly comforting, sonically enveloping to the point that they evoke a certain sense of dissociation from reality. truth be told, it couldn't be any more fitting that "the truth" was premiered at a museum; it's the perfect picture of jazz as an escape, and if it's any indication, the harmony of difference is exactly what the world needs A

 

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