Archive for June, 2015

“Our brightest hopes, extinguished now”…and still THE EPIC sings our glory

Posted in Uncategorized on June 20, 2015 by Josslyn Luckett


I love that young brother Kamasi had the nerve to launch a three disk release called The Epic and folks are losing their minds behind it. I have so many thoughts and feelings about all that’s happened this week…the sorrow is so deep and yet I hope somebody’s been playing Mingus’s Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting loud, unafraid of the glory and joy in that piece because that kind of soul force must have also been present in the radical hospitality our departed African Methodist Episcopal brothers and sisters extended to their assassin. I played Kamasi’s album for the first time yesterday and was so full up with gratitude for the life force unleashed by this saxophonist I’ve been watching since he was in high school (maybe junior high?). Amazing to hear and reflect on all he must have absorbed from the brilliance, rigor, and imagination of the many musical education encounters, both organized and organic, he experienced.  I’m thinking of jazz education programs once helmed by beloved ancestors Billy Higgins, Buddy Collette, and Horace Tapscott (P.A.P.A. is ringing so clear throughout the Epic) and those still rockin’ from East L.A. to the Watts Towers to Leimert to the Westside with generous geniuses like Patrice Rushen, Nedra Wheeler, Lesa Terry, Bobby Rodriguez and all the UCLA heavyweights like Kenny Burrell, James Newton and Roberto Miranda…

Washington dedicates his sonic dance with Debussy to Maestro Gerald Wilson. Still when I heard it I remembered the time Dwight Trible told me that Oscar Brown Jr was working on vocal arrangement of Clair de Lune before he died that he thought Dwight might be able to handle….and all of those thoughts flood me with the majesty of these sacred, multi-genre/generational transmissions that keep all of these musics alive. Then I get a chill hearing Dwight and Patrice Quinn sing Ossie Davis’s Eulogy for Malcolm X…and I am returned to the dirge so heavy in all our hearts behind the 9 extinguished hopes in Charleston, SC. Seem too soon for a second line, still Kamasi’s epic keep giving me the fire to remember and know and keep speaking our glory.