Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 22 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
Buy On
  1. 100
    After claiming his place in the spotlight by overwhelming force with The Epic, Kamasi Washington capitalizes on both his newfound fame and his journeyman work ethic to produce a follow-up that’s more intimate and just as daring at the same time.
  2. Jun 22, 2018
    91
    Earth is loaded with mentally and emotionally draining songs. ... Heaven, [is] a set of smoother, more cosmic songs that showcase Washington’s ability to pen compositions of awe-inspiring majesty. Even more impressive is the way those two modes occasionally bleed into each other from across the album’s border.
  3. Jun 22, 2018
    90
    Heaven and Earth is a lengthy album, and one that refuses to shortchange the listener. There is a wealth of ideas on the table here. It takes a musician, composer, and arranger of Washington's caliber to take these ideas and form them into a brilliant collection of performances.
  4. Jun 22, 2018
    90
    It's easy to get overawed by the sheer magnitude of such a work, but it lives up to the audacious premise grandly.
  5. Jun 21, 2018
    90
    The music is at turns bewildering, cathartic and questioning throughout; there is no separation. An exceptional record from one of the music world's brightest talents.
  6. Jun 19, 2018
    90
    Throughout simply titled/simply written tracks like "Lullaby" and "Journey," Washington has astonishingly revealed another element to his budding songcraft.
  7. Jun 19, 2018
    90
    An album with soul jazz, spiritual jazz, jazz-funk, electro-soul and many more genre-busting approaches incorporated across 16 wondrous pieces, aspects of free rhythms nestling next to vintage seventies soul sounds, all evolved effortlessly for the 21st Century. ... You won’t hear another record like it this, or maybe any, year.
  8. Jun 22, 2018
    88
    Washington’s strengths have never been clearer. His sound is sinewy and centered, his rhythmic footing sure. And he’s a catharsis engine who also knows when to shrewdly dial it back.
  9. 85
    This is a record that throbs and vibrates with an infectious pulse even when the instrumentalists aim for the outer reaches of lightning-speed look-at-me flurries of virtuoso showing-off.
  10. The Wire
    Jul 13, 2018
    80
    More than the spiritual feel of Impulse! releases by Sanders or Coltrane, this music recalls the groove oriented work of Turrentine, Idris Muhammad and Grover Washington Jr for CTI and Kudu. It’s warm weather music, made to be played through speakers propped in open windows, facing the street. [Jul 2018, p.58]
  11. Jun 25, 2018
    80
    A conceptual double album exploring earth (reality) and heaven (idealisation), is perhaps unlikely to sway the old guard, but it pushes forward with a purposeful vitality that was at times missing from his debut album, The Epic.
  12. Jun 22, 2018
    80
    Heaven and Earth is more a refinement of the ideas expressed on The Epic than an entirely new paradigm. There is less wandering, more focus, more inquiry and directed movement, as well as an abundance of colorful tonal and harmonic contrasts.
  13. Jun 21, 2018
    80
    Washington continues to explore a sweet spot between artistry and approachability. Whether his success will lead audiences to further explore music that usually exists on the fringes is an interesting question. What is more certain is the quality and accessibility of his own music.
  14. Jun 20, 2018
    80
    Despite the sheer weight of material on offer you’ll struggle to find an inch of fat. With its forward-thinking, deep-searching nature counterbalanced by a natural warmth and populist, groove-heavy approach, it’s another hugely accomplished work by a man whose prolific run of form shows no signs of abating.
  15. Jun 20, 2018
    80
    Heaven & Earth is ultimately yet another example of Washington’s incredible prowess behind the saxophone but also as a composer.
  16. Jun 20, 2018
    80
    On Heaven and Earth there’s a balance between big-stroke conceptualism--the first CD, “Earth,” is meant to represent worldly preoccupations; the second, “Heaven,” explores utopian thought--and the workmanlike reality of collaboration. The two collections don’t vary significantly in terms of sound; instead, they’re a testament to the sturdy rapport of Mr. Washington’s ensemble.
  17. 80
    The appetite for Washington’s old-school jazz utopia is a miracle in itself, renewed here.
  18. Mojo
    Jun 18, 2018
    80
    A series of near-overwhelming musical epiphanies. [Jul 2018, p.94]
  19. Q Magazine
    Jun 18, 2018
    80
    Washington's gift for euphonic arrangements and eagerness to explore new forms is evident throughout. [Summer 2018, p.115]
  20. Uncut
    Jun 18, 2018
    80
    This is the rare jazz record that feels equipped to venture outside the genre's familiar borders and engage with the wider world. [Jul 2018, p.29]
  21. Jul 2, 2018
    70
    This is a healthy, diverse, multi-faceted music that should be approached critically in much the same way as any other genre.
  22. Jun 21, 2018
    60
    A sprawling, eclectic set that ranges from the slightly tepid to the truly transcendent.

Awards & Rankings

User Score
7.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 49 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 42 out of 49
  2. Negative: 6 out of 49
  1. Sep 10, 2018
    10
    Powerful, moving instrumentation. That's the core of this album, as it was with with The Epic. Kamasi continues to provide music for an eraPowerful, moving instrumentation. That's the core of this album, as it was with with The Epic. Kamasi continues to provide music for an era that may not actually realize how special he really is. If you know... you know. Full Review »