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Cameron Graves – Planetary Prince 

March 4, 2017

It was just last weekend that I listened to Kamasi Washington’s The Epic (for maybe the hundredth time ) and I was wishing for new material from him.  Then, this week I discovered that Kamasi’s piano man, Cameron Graves, has a new album accompanied by various members of the Los Angeles collective West Coast Get Down (WCGD) including Kamasi. 

Planetary Prince has a much more conventional jazz configuration(mostly a trio and quintet) than the extravagant The Epic.  However, don’t let the notion of conventional suggest that this isn’t a creative release.  It has the all the cosmic wonder of The Epic.

Jazz is funny, in that it is not unusual for a sideman to dominate the session at the expense of the leader. There is no confusion here – the focus is on Cameron Graves.  He solos the most and it features his compositions.  The core of the band is made up of Graves’ fellow WCGD members: tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington, trombonist Ryan Porter, bassist Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner, and drummer Ronald Bruner Jr.  Augmenting the gang are trumpeter Philip Dizack and bassist Hadrien Faraud.

I am not sure what the  WCGD do to make their jazz sound so fresh and current.  On the surface their music is not radically new or different from 60s through 80s hard bop. Perhaps, it is just their youth and their hip hop attitudes. I would like to imagine it is because they are an organic musical family of like-minded siblings from a specific place and time – in this case L.A. right now.

I am still consuming this, so this is not a review, just an early appreciation and recommendation.  Listen and let’s have a dialogue as you consume it.

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From → Music Reviews

3 Comments
  1. I’ve been looking forward to hearing Washington in a smaller scale recording. I’ll track down a copy of this ASAP.

  2. Will do the same as Adam.

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