OK listen, I’ve already given you a hot tip on a free show you can hit up this Friday night. BUT, if you’ve got some extra scratch, because maybe you just got paid or something, you might want to look into what’s going on at The National this night instead. Kamasi Washington, a young tenor saxophonist who’s built himself quite a reputation in the two or so years since releasing his debut triple album The Epic, will be bringing his talents and his band to the National stage, and if you care at all about jazz, you really should be paying attention. Washington’s known to the wider music scene for his connections with the world of hip hop, having played on Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly LP, toured with Snoop Dogg, and featured Thundercat in his band at various points.
That having been said, one thing any listener to Kamasi Washington’s music is sure to understand immediately is that it’s very much of the jazz genre. Both The Epic and his more reasonably-sized single-album followup, Harmony Of Difference, feature instrumental performances that seem to draw mainly from classic-quartet era John Coltrane and the rich world of soul jazz. They also incorporate plenty of modern hip hop and R&B influences though, and on the whole stand out not only as some of the best works to come out of the jazz world in quite a while but also an excellent gateway drug for hip hop and soul heads who just haven’t ever allowed themselves to take the plunge. So whether you’re a jazz freak from way back or just a curious fan of good music in general, you should definitely take a chance on catching Kamasi Washington’s live performance at the National this Friday. You won’t regret it.