I don't care too much about music. What I like is sounds. -- Dizzie Gillespie
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04 Jul

Kamasi Washington - The Epic

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Kamasi Washington on July 4, 2017 at Technopolis City of Athens - 100, Pireos St. - Gazi - Athens - "The best music is that which forces one into active listening." One of the best contemporary saxophone players takes us to an Odyssey of unmapped paths of radical sounds.
Some have described his music as a "crossover revival of cosmic jazz". He disagrees. For him, "the best music is that which forces one into active listening".
Invited by the Onassis Cultural Centre, saxophone player and composer Kamasi Washington will perform in July at Technopolis, Athens. He is known for bridging pop-rap with jazz, and for attracting audiences from both music scenes.
Born in Los Angeles in 1981, Kamasi was one of seven children of saxophonist Rickey Washington. At the age of 11, he started learning the clarinet. Two years later, his father gave him a soprano saxophone. He notes "It was love at first blow, an epiphany, almost like meeting the person you are going to marry!".
Kamasi grew up at the suburbs of Los Angeles in the 1980s, marked by many incidents of violence at the time. At one point, he even found the dead body of a man at his backyard. This exposure contributed to his social and political awakening. He went to the renowned Hamilton High School. As a teenager, he toured with his father’s band, as well as with the – unexpectedly jazzy – group of the legendary rapper Snoop (Doggy) Dogg.  He studied ethnomusicology at UCLA, and in particular the musical traditions of India, Indonesia, and Ghana. His first album was Young Jazz Giants (2004) with his first band. He has worked with famous musicians, such as Wayne Shorter, Kenny Burrell, Herbie Hancock, George Duke, Stanley Clarke, Chaka Khan, Lauryn Hill as well as Beyonce.
In 2015 he featured in Kendrick Lamar’s acclaimed album To Pimp a Butterfly, which received a Grammy award and included lyrics that became slogans against police violence. During the same year, he completed his debut solo album, The Epic, after months of recording. A lavish work with orchestra and choir, it bears distinctive influences and origins, both musical (Coltrane, Sanders, Blakey, and Sun Ra) and ideological (Malcolm X). Described as a masterpiece by most critics, this three-hour album was at the top of numerous iTunes Jazz Charts, also receiving the American Music Prize.


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