Song of the Week – The Rhythm Changes, Kamasi Washington

Ignored           Obscured            Restored

I had the privilege of seeing Kamasi Washington in a small club setting, Menlo Park’s Guild Theater, last Wednesday.  One of the highlights of the show was the performance of “The Rhythm Changes” from his acclaimed 2015 album, The Epic.

It’s the only track on the album that features vocals (by co-writer Patrice Quinn), so it veers from the hard bop jazz of the rest of the album.  But it is outstanding nonetheless.

The title of the song comes from a jazz term, “rhythm changes”, which refers to a 32-bar chord progression common in jazz, that harkens back to George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm”.

“The Rhythm Changes” was included on the soundtrack for Becoming, the Netflix documentary on Michelle Obama.

On a side note, Washington arranged and played alto sax on Kendrick Lamar’s landmark album, To Pimp A Butterfly (2015), providing its decidedly jazzy flavor.

He has a few more concert dates on the west coast, then heads to the Midwest.  Check him out if he visits a city near you!

Enjoy… until next week.

One thought on “Song of the Week – The Rhythm Changes, Kamasi Washington

  1. I agree, it’s one the best songs on the album, beautiful elegant and moving and also very groovey. But I’m confused, what do you mean by “the only track that features vocals”? What about Cherokee, Henrietta Our Hero or Malcolm’s Theme? All of these also have Patrice singing on them, with Malcolm’s being a duet.

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