Perspectives: Kamasi Washington

Perspectives: Kamasi Washington


When?

Start time: Thursday 20:00 (29 June)
End time: Thursday 22:30 (29 June)

About

Thrilling California-based saxophonist and composer Kamasi Washington has been described as the biggest thing to hit jazz for years. Having toured for over a decade with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Lauryn Hill and Snoop Dogg, most recently, Kamasi worked on Kendrick Lamar’s acclaimed 2015 album To Pimp A Butterfly. He now makes his NCH debut, performing music from his groundbreaking recent three-disc album, The Epic.

At the age of 13, Kamasi started a lifelong quest discovering the many wonders of music. One night, his father left his soprano saxophone lying on the piano. Kamasi, filled with curiosity for all the beauty he heard from the instrument, picked up his father’s horn. Even though he didn’t know anything about the saxophone – in fact, never even touched one – he played Wayne Shorter’s composition Sleeping Dancer Sleep On, his favorite song at the time.

At the prestigious Hamilton High School Music Academy, within two years, Kamasi earned the lead tenor saxophone chair in the top jazz ensemble. At the same time, Kamasi joined the Multi School Jazz Band (MSJB) where he reunited with several childhood friends who were pursuing their passion for music. During his senior year of high school, Kamasi formed his first band, The Young Jazz Giants, with childhood friends including Ronald Bruner, Stephen Bruner and Cameron Graves. After high school, Kamasi received a full scholarship to study ethnomusicology at UCLA, where he explored many of the non-western musical cultures around the world. During the summer after his freshman year, Kamasi recorded his first album with The Young Jazz Giants to spread new sounds of jazz all around the country. In his second year at UCLA, Kamasi went on his first national tour with the west coast hip-hop legend Snoop Dogg. Later that year, Kamasi joined the orchestra of one of his biggest heroes, Gerald Wilson, and later went on his first international tour with R&B legend Raphael Saadiq.

Over the years, Kamasi has performed and recorded with many of his musical heroes from various genres, including Gerald Wilson, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Burrell, George Duke, Lauryn Hill, Jeffrey Osborne, Mos Def, Quincy Jones, Stanley Clark, Harvey Mason and Chaka Khan. Kamasi’s own band The Next Step is a modern spin on a big band, which includes two drummers, two upright bass players, keyboard players, three horn players, a pianist and a vocalist. In addition, Kamasi is part of a west coast musical collective called the West Coast Get Down.

On May 5th, Kamasi released his groundbreaking solo album The Epic on the trend-setting record label Brainfeeder. The Epic is a 172-minute, triple-disc masterpiece, featuring Kamasi’s ten-piece band The Next Step along with a full string orchestra and full choir. The Epic debuted #1 on several iTunes Jazz charts, including the US, Canada, Australia, Russia and UK.

Tickets €36, €32, €27.50



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