Best Keytar Solo: Kamasi Washington
With all the excitement brewing around Kamasi Washington – the multitudes-containing jazz composer behind 2015's rightly named 3LP The Epic – it's easy to forget that the tenor sax blaster is only the most visible member of a Los Angeles jazz collective with their hands in everything from Flying Lotus albums to Kendrick Lamar songs to Herbie Hancock concerts. Obviously, there wasn't a dud among the 10-piece posse that swarmed the stage (11 counting guest flautist Ricky Washington, Kamasi's father). With a grand piano, two drum kits, an upright bass rigged to a wah-wah pedal, turntables, a wall of brass and the rich, otherworldly vocals of Patrice Quinn, they unleashed mad flurries of notes and thick gushes of resplendent sound with, if not ease, than something approaching second nature. But for all the sonic gold the group was spinning, no one captured the crowd's affections like Brandon Coleman, who tore into his vintage Moog Liberation keytar synth like it was a Flying V during a high-speed hyperfunk freak-out, horns blazing and beats pounding all around him. Biting his lower lip, he shredded that thing until even his beloved bandleader looked floored. When he finished, though, Kamasi grasped his sax, stepped to the mike, and followed Coleman's manic runs blow for blow.