The lights flashed and members of the audience took to the stage and began crowd surfing. The frontman of the band, a drummer, just finished counting backwards from three, causing the crowd to erupt in applause, even spawning a large mosh pit.
It sounds like a typical night at a rock show but the musicians were a jazz trio with a guest instrumentalist on stage known as Bad Bad Not Good. The band is one of the faces representing a new uprising in jazz music among a younger generation.
Their claim to fame was through anohter genre of music, one with more commercial appeal in today’s music industry: rap. Jazz adding instrumental backing to rap artists, California Baptist University students may be familiar with the music of such bands.
Kamasi Washington, a jazz composer and saxophonist, just lent his talents to Kendrick Lamar’s new record, taking the time to compose the album’s instrumentals gracing the album. Washington’s new record “The Epic” launched in May, with glossy production and glowing reviews.
The album was released through Brainfeeder records, the label of jazz fusion icon Steven Ellison, also known as Flying Lotus, a musician who utilizes synthesizer and computer sounds to pioneer innovative new music in the jazz world.
Through his contributions and ties to the rap world, an entire record label of progressive jazz music was born.
Without the business-savvy nature of Ellison, acts like Stephen Bruner, also known as Thundercat, a jazz bassist would not have the ability to be able to release solo records. The Brainfeeder’s origin stems back years to a local radio station called Dublab where Ellison and his friends curated the music of a local radio show.
The label led to “1983” the debut of the album by Flying Lotus, from Warp Records and to the eventual birth of the label.
For jazz, a genre some may have considered stuck in the past, fans have a new way to enjoy music built from the craft of songwriting, improvisation, and now mosh pits and crowd surfing.