The Metallica Blacklist is shaping up to be one of the wildest releases of the year. The album, meant to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Metallica’s seminal LP The Black Album, is set to feature 53 different takes on the album’s 12 songs.
The results we’ve heard so far are incredibly diverse: Phoebe Bridgers and Chris Stapleton took on ‘Nothing Else Matters’, St. Vincent and Sam Fender both covered ‘Sad But True’, while everyone from Rina Sawayama to Weezer has tried their hand at ‘Enter Sandman’.
But the real interesting versions are going to be the deeper cuts. IDLES tore their way through ‘The God That Failed’ a few days ago, a beloved classic to Metallica true believers but certainly not one of the album’s “hits”, and today we’re getting a double dose of left field as jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington has released his cover of the album’s penultimate tune, ‘My Friend of Misery’.
Washington is one of those figures in music who is just so insanely talented that even if you don’t know him by name, chances are you’ve heard his music somewhere. Whether it’s on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly, Flying Lotus’ You’re Dead!, St. Vincent’s Masseduction, his killer ending solo on Ryan Adam’s ‘New York, New York’, or his smooth as hell contributions to Run the Jewels’ ‘Thursday in the Danger Room’, Washington has a resume that can match or beat just about any other modern sax player.
The question is: how did he hook up with Metallica? If I had to venture a guess, it was probably through bassist Robert Trujillo, who himself is a massive jazz fan. Trujillo and guitarist Kirk Hammett joined Washington and his band for a live performance of ‘My Friend of Misery’ back in July, and it’s pretty trippy. Even for people who don’t enjoy jazz, the novelty of mixing metal and spacey jazz-funk is well worth a watch and a listen.
Check out the audio for Washington’s cover of ‘My Friend of Misery’, plus the liver performance with Trujillo and Hammett, down below.