If you were looking to find jazz music’s latest renaissance, a good place to start would be the liner notes to Kendrick Lamar’s Grammy-award-winning 2015 album, To Pimp a Butterfly.

In what was a reciprocal relationship, West Coast jazz managed to hitch itself to hip-hop’s rising comet.  

Read the names among the credits: Terrence Martin, Robert Glasper, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, James Fauntleroy, Kamasi Washington and Anna Wise. This list of collaborators is a who’s who of the West Coast musical scene, which is now riding on a world-wide-wave of recognition off the back of Kendrick Lamar’s LA drenched tour-de-force.

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Having explored the streets of LA’s Compton from the perspective of that biting, teenage-rapper in his sophomore work, Good kid, m.A.A.d city, Kendrick Lamar’s third studio album examined his new celebrity, and the responsibilities inherent in that as a black artist in the United States.

Broadening out his rap & hip-hop sound, Lamar incorporated strands of free jazz, soul music and experimental funk on this new album. Inviting a range of his hometown’s finest artists to collaborate, he allowed them near free reign as each put their distinctive stamp on the record in a series of spontaneous studio sessions.

The result proved to be a fusion of sounds and genres that encapsulated the staggering range of what was happening musically in LA at the time. In collecting the Grammy, he had managed to turn a mainstream spotlight onto some of the most progressive musicians and producers his country had to offer.

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One collaborator was saxophonist Kamasi Washington. He brings his experimental brand of live jazz to Dublin’s National Concert Hall this Thursday, June 29th, as part of the Perspectives Series - tickets have been sold out for weeks.

It was hip-hop producer Terrence Martin who recommended Washington to Kendrick Lamar. Years previously, while putting together a horn-section for an upcoming Snoop Dogg tour, Martin gave a twenty-year-old Washington a break by asking him to join the band.

This was where the young sax player evolved beyond the strict jazz education he had received up to that point. On tour, he learned how to play within the demanding hip-hop grooves that Snoop Dogg wanted performed intuitively by his backing musicians.

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Thirteen years after that introduction, Terrence Martin heard Washington’s debut album, The Epic, and called on him again as he was producing the follow-up to Good kid, m.A.A.d city for Kendrick.

Initially, Wasington was only supposed to play orchestration on the 2Pac-inspired closing song, but quickly he became integral to the record’s production as he overlaid a number of songs with his string arrangements.

In the song ‘u’, Washington’s smooth alto and tenor saxophones can be heard as Lamar remonstrates with himself in screams of "Loving you is complicated." While the rapper was talking of his recent fame and success, the same line could easily be applied to jazz, which often neglected its future in favour of nostalgia.

New York had long been the capital of jazz in the US, but with the mainstream spotlight afforded to those artists on To Pimp a Butterfly, and then Kamasi Washington’s three-hour long, aptly-titled, The Epic, the jazz axis seemed to have been sonically altered, and with that came indications of a vibrant future for the genre.

The Brainfeeder label, which released The Epic, also houses Flying Lotus and Thundercat, and much of the LA scene. Their slew of releases has helped broaden the appeal of jazz; those both inside and outside of aficionado circles were now paying attention to the label’s every move.

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Pianist and composer Robert Glasper is playing in the humbler surrounds of Whelan’s on July 4th, Independence Day back in the United States. Last time we checked, there are still tickets for that show, so move quickly.

Glasper told the hip-hop magazine, Okayplayer, of his own experience of working on that game-changing record. He shows how the secretive production process mushroomed as people were invited into the studio.

"The way it happened that I got on like seven songs on the album is because of one song, For Free. The funny thing about that story was I was in L.A. recording my record at Capital Records, my trio album. Terrace [Martin] called me, he knew I was in town, and he said ‘After your session can you come over to the studio with me and Kendrick? We’re doing some shit and I want you to play on this joint.’

"Everyone knows in the jazz world that I stopped doing regular swing a long time ago, my shit’s kind of hip-hop influenced, whether I’m playing jazz or something else.

"So in a way I was getting away from that, but then I go to the most anticipated hip-hop session, and that’s the first thing I f**king do. It was all swing!"

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"I did that song there and Kendrick was like ‘Oh, s**t!’ when he heard me warming up. Kendrick was so impressed that he was like ‘Yo, pull up this, pull up that,’ and asked me ‘Play what you hear on that?’

"So I’d listen to it one time and then say ‘Hit record,’ and just play. And I did that for nine songs in a row. One sitting… That’s literally how I got on those joints… I was there at the studio to do one song, and it ended up as all of those songs."

It was in this manner that many of the collaborations happened. Kendrick would bring the people in and implore them to do what came naturally, to riff instinctively off his recordings. It was a freedom that is rarely seen on big label productions.

They say it took a village To Pimp a Butterfly, over the next week you can check out two of the artists responsible as they perform live in Dublin, and thus get a feel for the direction jazz music is moving in these days.

Kamasi Washington plays the National Concert Hall, Dublin, on Thursday June 29th; Robert Glasper plays Whelan’s, Dublin on Tuesday July 4th.