There are a lot of shows to be covered in Nashville, and Now/It's does our damndest to cover as many relevant, interesting, and unique shows as possible. But even still, there are some genres of music that are over represented, and others that go criminally underrepresented. If you're at all familiar with Kamasi Washington, his west coast jazz elan would fall under the latter of underrepresented musical classifications.
As a whole, jazz in not a musical classification that receives a lot of coverage in Nashville as a whole, but that's certainly not for lack of a community. From local legends like Bela Fleck to bastions like Rudy's Jazz Room to upstarts like Dynamo, Nashville's jazz community is ever burgeoning and poised to supplant others like it. And for that reason, an artist of Kamasi Washington's ilk coming through town serves a unique purpose in cementing Nashville's reputation in the world of jazz music.
Touring in support of his sublime EP, Harmony of Difference, Washington and his collection of players (many of whom spent time on the Carson Daly Show, along with local Cordovas bass player Joe Firstman) stop at Marathon Music Works carried some serious weight. Washington's unique brand of spectral space jazz meets 808's influence brings out quite the eclectic crowd.
In terms of diversity, Washington's following was manifold music fans. We're talking Pitchfork snobs, to hip hop heads, to true jazz aficionados, all in unison under the presence of Kamasi. If ever there were anyone to take over the Sun Ra Arkestra meets Kendrick collaborator mantle, it would be Kamasi Washington (as he's already done at least one of those two things), and he's bound to continue such trajectory, all the while far surpassing it toward the outer depths of the universe, much like his atom rearranging compositions have done on any given night.
It's tough to fill out that room, but Washington did it (which shouldn't come as surprise), subsequently setting the groundwork for future prime-time jazz artists to identify Marathon as Nashville's go-to mid-level venue for jazz. It might seem reductive to equate such a scenario as a lead in Nashville's efforts to grow the jazz community, but in as many ways, it is. And if Kamasi Washington's stop through town is any indication, it's working.