Artist picture of Kamasi Washington

Kamasi Washington

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Artist's Top Tracks

For Granted Dinner Party, Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, Kamasi Washington 02:52
Can't Go Dinner Party, Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, Kamasi Washington 02:44
Lesanu Kamasi Washington 09:22
Truth Kamasi Washington 13:30
My Friend of Misery Kamasi Washington 06:47
Street Fighter Mas Kamasi Washington 05:58
Freeze Tag Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder, Kamasi Washington 03:11
Interstellar Peace (The Last Stance) Kamasi Washington 05:04
From My Heart and My Soul Terrace Martin, Robert Glasper, 9th Wonder, Kamasi Washington 02:30
Vi Lua Vi Sol Kamasi Washington 11:07

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Biography

Regarded as a boundary-pushing, genre melding new jazz visionary, saxophonist Kamasi Washington came to wider recognition when he played on Kendrick Lamar's landmark 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly album and conjured a mesmerizing mix of psychedelic, free-form, Afrobeat jazz on his major label debut The Epic (2015). Born into a musical household in Los Angeles, California, his father was a woodwind player who recorded with Earth, Wind & Fire and The Supremes, and after dabbling with keyboards and drums, Kamsi Washington started playing the saxophone at the age of 13 and discovered the jazz of Art Blakey and John Coltrane. Despite growing up in the tough Inglewood neighborhood where hip-hop reigned supreme, he played with the church gospel groups, while his high school friends Thundercat and Terrace Martin became long-term musical cohorts who played their first major gig together at the Playboy Jazz Festival in 1997. He also discovered European classical music, Indonesian Gamelan, and North Indian classical raga while studying ethnomusicology at UCLA and dreamed-up lofty ambitions of conquering the world of jazz, before learning his trade as a touring member of Snoop Dogg's band and as a session musician for Ryan Adams, John Legend, and Chaka Khan. As part of the West Coast Get Down collective of musicians that began rejuvenating the Los Angeles jazz scene, Kamasi Washington led bands and self-released early albums The Proclamation (2007) and Light of the World (2008) before his old friend Terrace Martin began producing tracks for Kenderick Lamar and brought him in to play saxophone on the track “Mortal Man.” He ended up arranging and featuring heavily on Lamar's US number one albums To Pimp a Butterfly and Damn, while Kamasi Washington's 2015 album The Epic was born out of 30 days of long jam sessions and told the story of his influences, his journey, and his future visions in a three-hour odyssey that featured a 32-piece orchestra, a gospel choir and a ten-piece jazz band. His screaming, psychedelic saxophones, African rhythms, classical elegance, hip-hop swagger and jazz improvisations were condensed into a six-track fusion EP on follow-up Harmony of Difference (2017), but he returned to big, visionary ideas and attempted to digest his utopian ideals with society's hard-faced realities on Heaven and Earth in 2018. Kamasi Washington worked with Robert Glasper, Terrace Martin, and 9th Wonder on his next two EPs: Dinner Party (2020) and Enigmatic Society (2023). Kamasi Washington released his fifth full length album, Fearless Movement, in 2024. The album features musical assistance from members of the West Coast Get Down collective (Thundercat, Patrice Quinn, Brandon Coleman, and Terrace Martin) plus George Clinton, André 3000, Taj Austin, D Smoke, BJ the Chicago Kid, and others. Kamasi Washington has been honored with many awards throughout his career including the John Coltrane Music Competition award (1999), two Worldwide Winners awards (2015, 2019), six Libera Awards (2016, 2018, 2019, 2023), and an American Music Prize (2016).