FTC welcomes jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington

The Fairfield Theatre Company welcomes LA based saxophonist, Kamasi Washington for his debut performance at StageOne Friday, Aug. 21, at 7:30 p.m.

At the age of 13 Kamasi Washington began a lifelong quest in music. After discovering his father’s soprano saxophone lying on the piano after a rehearsal, Kamasi left with an uncontrollable curiosity of all the beauty he’d just heard come from it.

With no hesitation Kamasi took father’s horn, and even though he didn’t know anything about the saxophone, certainly not how to play it. Kamasi ended up blowing in to the horn and began playing it from the voice he felt in his heart. In just a few short minutes Kamasi was playing Wayne Shorter’s “Sleeping Dancer Sleep On”, his favorite song at the time. Kamasi was shocked he had been playing drums, piano, and clarinet for years but he’d never played the saxophone. Yet somehow Kamasi was able to play a song from his heart and received an early glimpse of the euphoria that music can have over the soul. It was from that very moment Kamasi knew that music was his life’s quest and the saxophone was his voice to guide him.

In just few short years Kamasi earned the lead tenor saxophone chair in the top jazz ensemble at the prestigious Hamilton High School Music Academy and would form his first band The Young Jazz Giants with childhood friends Ronald and Stephen Bruner on drums and bass, along with pianist Cameron Graves.

After high school Kamasi went studied ethnomusicology at UCLA where he received a full scholarship and was exposed to many of the non-western musical cultures around the world. In the summer after his freshman year Kamasi recorded his first album with “The Young Jazz Giants” a platform they used to spread the new sound 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 Dog. Ironically this band was made of many of the most talented young jazz musicians in the country. Later that year Kamasi joined The Gerald Wilson orchestra. Gerald Wilson was his biggest hero compositionally and being a part of his orchestra motivated Kamasi to make composition the focus of his major at UCLA. In doing so Kamasi began studying many of the great American and European composers.

It wasn’t long till Kamasi became the saxophonist that everyone wanted to work with. Soon artist such as Raphael Saddiq, Chaka Khan, Lauryn Hill, Jeffrey Osborne, Mos Def, Kendrick Lamar, Stanley Clark, Quincy Jones McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Burrell, and George Duke, called upon the young player to join them on albums and tours.

Now this star studded all-star brings his unique talent to FTC’s intimate StageOne theatre with his The Next Step Band for a unique night of music in support of his latest release, a triple disc masterpiece appropriately entitled “The Epic”.

Released under the Brainfeeder label, a label that was established by electronic musician and producer Flying Lotus, The Epic puts Kamasi in the forefront of the future of where jazz is headed with sprawling rhythms, full of funk, gospel, swing, hip hop, all the while expanding the boundaries of jazz that many would classify as their grandparents jazz. His playing is truly something that is out of this world – and will leave those in attendance speechless at what they have just seen and heard.

So if you want to see where the future of jazz is headed, don’t miss your chance to see this legend in the making now, because talent this big doesn’t usually play tiny rooms like these long.

For tickets, at $25, visit fairfieldtheatre.org or call 203-259-1036.

Kamasi Washington

Kamasi Washington

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