It’s about time the cool kids took over the town hall.
For the longest time, jazz and mainstream music in general took a beating, systemized by suits running the money making machines of studio-backed images leaving little to the imagination, leaving little else but the same popularity contest. Jazz itself became antiquated by history, overrun by the same recognizable faces, brand names regurgitating proven product, chasing lightning in a bottle, lost in a golden era long dead.
Now, a young, talented, ballsy group of musicians from L.A. are fixing to change the status quo and bang on the closed doors of this clique that music keeps reverting to.
Led by The Epic’s saxophonist Kamasi Washington, the West Coast Get Down has effectively blurred the lines between jazz and popular music by bringing it all together, bringing it all home for a world hungry to devour musical change.
West Coast Get Down co-founder Miles Mosley is set to stand proudly next to Washington with his upcoming debut album, UPRISING. Scheduled to drop in all its glory Jan. 27 next year, Mosley’s UPRISING features 11 powerful anthems brought to life by his West Coast Get Down crew: punchy, catchy melodies, fist-pumping lyrics born from too many encounters with injustices, a vocal choir rising up as if from the ashes of the fallen, and mixed-genre music spit-shining jazz, hip-hop, R&B, EDM-soul, the classical, the Latin/orchestral maneuver on “Fire,” and whatever rock hybrid “Tuning Out” turns out to be.
What an amazing change UPRISING is.
“For the ‘UPRISING,’ I wanted to make something that was kind of intimate and visceral, but grand. So I like to say, it’s like being best friends with a giant,” Mosley said in an All Music Television interview posted on YouTube Sept. 20.
Anticipation is at a fever pitch, thanks to two lead singles Mosley released digitally on the new Alpha Pub Records sub-imprint World Galaxy. “Abraham” debuted April 15, and “Young Lion,” came out Sept. 16 via Pitchfork Radio.
Mosley scorches the earth on this record, his bass, vocals, and compositions serving notice to a music industry bloated with tired, old retreads. UPRISING delivers hard-hitting reinventions, each song brimming over with seamless fusions of known and obscure musical styles.
Mosley’s six-piece band culls the best from his West Coast Get Down — a group of friends who rediscovered jazz with their hip-hop back in their high school days. They include Washington, keyboardist Brandon Coleman, pianist Cameron Graves, drummer Tony Austin, and trombonist Ryan Porter. Joining the groove: trumpeter Dontae Winslow, the late saxophonist Zane Musa, and a full orchestra and choir.
The listener will hear the full impact of a mind-blowing assembly of musical influences, from Otis Redding to Jimi Hendrix. It’s all in there, underlining Mosley’s strong, relevant, and accessible narrative. “It seems fitting that this new attention to our sound, and the impact that we are capable of making across genres feels like our own uprising. This is my piece of our story,” Mosley explained in a press release from DL Media.
Closer inspection brings up vague comparisons to Motown, if the cats in the studio were inclined to jam on a late night with the Vegas lounge house bands, the sidemen on Tom Jones’ latest tour, and a select few emerging jazz and R&B hustlers from the outskirts of audition city.
UPRISING is that kind of vibe, a jumble of the baddest music hustlers throwing in on the coolest fusions, with notes you can hold onto that invite listeners of all makes and models to come on in and enjoy music with a message, a world of melody, and just enough harmonic diversion to cut through any propensity toward the derivative, chaos, or just plain bizarre.
The message sprays out from issues uppermost in Mosley’s mind: his blessed, musical childhood, his loves, his strengths — “getting old in a young man’s game [‘Sky High’],” triumphing over mediocrity “is everywhere, but not here” (“Abraham”), rising up from obstacles, the never-ending fight for justice (“Heartbreaking Efforts Of Others” is clever, quick, and, well, heartbreaking in its truths, awesome in Mosley’s bulleted bass points).
Mosley and his groove crew make all those styles work, and more importantly, give us hope that “so much more” is out there.
“The West Coast Get Down, the strings, the choir. All of these elements together create something with memorable melodies and a message to the people that we are here for them. We are and want to be the loudspeaker for their hearts,” Mosley added.