Cameron Graves: Planetary Prince

Album review
Cameron Graves: Planetary Prince

Cameron Graves

Planetary Prince

Label: Mack Avenue
Media: CD
Genre: Jazz

For a jazz album, Kamasi Washington’s The Epic drew an unusually wide audience after its release in 2015. The four musicians at the core of Planetary Prince—pianist and leader Cameron Graves, drummer Ronald Bruner Jr., bassist Steven “Thundercat” Bruner, and Washington—are long-term West Coast Get Down members who played key roles in The Epic. The musicianship on Planetary Prince is exceptional, starting with a super-tight rhythm section that allows Graves and Washington to take flight on extended improvisations, and the soloists continue to explore new ideas at every turn. On the title track Graves comes in like a whirling dervish and never lets up; on the unabashedly pretty “Andromeda” his rhapsodic approach reveals his classical background. Washington tends to start serenely and gradually build intensity, slowly adding notes and eventually invoking the full weight of the tenor. There isn’t a dull moment on this almost 80-minute record, and much of it is exhilarating. Ironically, in spite of science fiction themes suggested by song titles like “Andromeda” and “Satania Our Solar System,” while listening to Planetary Prince I hear the street, and it sure sounds good.

More Info

  • primary artist, Cameron Graves

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