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Bebop Spoken There

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Born This Day
Louis Armstrong and Steve Andrews.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Preview: Kamasi Washington @ Sage Gateshead, Tuesday 21 May


(Preview by Russell)

The Epic said it all - ambitious, sprawling, three discs (yes, it was made available on vinyl), Los Angeles born bandleader, saxophonist, collaborator, producer, Kamasi Washington's high-profile recording secured media attention beyond that of the regular jazz press. 

On Tuesday the 38-year-old American rocks up at Sage Gateshead. Touring the UK, Europe then back to the States, this is the long-awaited opportunity for Tynesiders to check-out the man who has acquired a cult following - not least among the Millennial generation - thanks to his association with Flying Lotus, Thundercat and Kendrick Lamar. 

The 2015 release of The Epic was followed by last year's Heaven and Earth and with fans seeking out earlier, self-released recordings, Washington's star remains firmly in the ascendant. Sage Gateshead's big hall - approx capacity 1700 - appears to have allocated a front-of-stage 'mosh pit' by taking out the first few rows of seats (log on to the venue's website to view the seating/standing plan - www.sagegateshead.com) and by all accounts, tickets have flown out the door.

Tuesday at Sage Gateshead will, if nothing else, be an 'I was there' occasion. It could go down in folklore. The whole thing kicks off at 7:30 with a support set by Oscar Jerome followed by the man of the moment, Kamasi Washington. It promises to be an 'epic' night. 
Russell

1 comment :

Steve T said...

Always nice to see a decent crowd, but I hope jazz people aren't put off by the 'hype'. Just because he isn't John Coltrane, doesn't mean he's Kenny G.
In my jazz-funk days, we thought they were the greatest jazz artists ever, while serious jazz heads looked down on us and them. While all of my peers either descended into smooth jazz or accepted whatever styles, artists and choons acid jazz djs thew at them, I spread my wings to Sonny Rollins, Trane, Miles, Bird, Duke and Mingus and became something of a snob myself.
Insomuch as men ever do (and especially music daft men), I grew up and realised it was alright to like both and younger listeners nowadays aren't as disparaging of jazz-funk, and maybe even some older listeners, who may also have 'grown up.' Somebody even said to me Grover Washington Jnr was one of the great soprano players.
It's impossible and pointless to estimate if and where Kamasi may feature in a future timeline. While I'm no great fan of hip-hop, I think a successful fusion would be welcome (and so far the hip-hop people seem to have done it better) and I think he's a more commanding figure-head than Robert Glasper, though he and the rest of the West Coast Get Down need to get on with it.
I like all of his albums, and just because none of them are Kind of Blue, doesn't mean they're Kenny G's Greatest Hits, and I do hear some originality, alongside the appropriate revereance for those who went before.
It promises to be an interesting evening (and I've seen him twice before), not least watching young people who probably aren't as cool as they think they are, oldies who definitely aren't as cool as we think we are (though probably cooler than the young people think we are) but knowing the people who aren't there are the least cool of all.

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