Kamasi Washington Brings Buzz and Jazz to New York City

By Thomas Swan t.swan@classicalite.com | Mar 01, 2016 10:39 PM EST

Coming or going, LA based saxophonist Kamasi Washington can do no wrong at the moment. One of the hottest names in jazz at the moment, Washington has put together quite a string of commercial and critical successes that have sent his career rocketing into overdrive. Washington brought the buzz .and the jazz recently back to New York City to showcase to the 1400 gathered what it is and, if it's not, why it should be.

The concert was supposed to take place during Winter Jazz Fest in January but Washington was holed up recovering from a broken ankle he suffered on the European leg of his tour. His sound has brought up memories of John Coltrane. According to Downbeat online, "Recognizable for his burly sound as much as for his habit of dressing in flowing dashikis, Washington has revived a brand of jazz that has been described as "spiritual" and "black consciousness jazz" in the style of late 1960s/early '70s artists such as John Coltrane."

As a sideman, Washington has worked with such luminaries as Snoop Dogg and Lamarr Kendrick. He signaled his intentions when he released his debut album last year. Actually, it wasn't just one but three, a massive undertaking at three hours long. His sound is doing what few others have done, unite the young and hungry with the stolid. Kamasi had this to note about his music, via SFGate, "There's a freedom in the music; a sense of endless possibilities to it. The younger generations are very individualistic. They're into being different and being themselves. Weird is the new cool."

Washington's ability to connect with younger audiences is due in no large part to his work with the aforementioned pop stars. Though he is done with that aspect of his life, Kamasi is grateful for the experience it has granted him.

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