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Jazz Saxophonist Kamasi Washington in India This Month

Along with a nine-piece band, the rising American jazz artist will perform in Mumbai and New Delhi

Rolling Stone India Aug 01, 2019

American jazz artist Kamasi Washington will perform in Mumbai and New Delhi this August. Photo: Durimel

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It’s August and unofficially time for the artist announcements in the live music circuit’s peak season to kick off. Mumbai-based artist and event agency Third Culture announced earlier today that it was bringing down Los Angeles saxophone artist Kamasi Washington for his India debut on August 28th in Mumbai and August 29th in New Delhi.

The tenor saxophonist, who has worked with hip-hop artists such as Run the Jewels and Kendrick Lamar, alternative artist St. Vincent, IDM producer Flying Lotus and bassist-composer Thundercat, will be joined by his nine-piece band that includes veteran musicians like Ronald Bruner on drums, Miles Mosley on bass and Ryan Porter on trombone among others, for the two shows.

Washington made his record label debut in 2015, releasing The Epic via Brainfeeder and climbing to the Number 3 spot on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. The album clocked in at nearly three hours, but made it to several publications’ end of the year lists, including Rolling Stone’s top 50 albums of 2015. It noted, “The Epic is nearly three hours of furious yet restrained chops, near-telepathic interplay and hard-swung grooves that recall the early Seventies work of Pharoah Sanders and Weather Report.”

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Creating jazz that was contemporary, sometimes experimental and psychedelic, Washington released his second full-length album Heaven and Earth in June last year, via Young Turks. The three-hour album was Washington’s way of connecting past worlds of jazz with current music sensibilities, on songs like “Street Fighter Mas” and “Fists of Fury.” The album topped the Billboard Jazz Albums chart and stayed there for a few weeks, as Washington released the funky and badass video for “Street Fighter Mas.”

Third Culture founder Tej Brar says he was working over four months with other Asian partners to get a fair price and later, with sound vendor Sound.com to setup the shows. It’s Washington’s first stop on his Asia tour, performing a two-hour set. Brar adds, “I don’t think we’ve had an act like Kamasi come to India yet, even though there’s been plenty of jazz concerts. This is somebody who blurs the lines between jazz, funk, soul and hip-hop.”

Brar promises that this will be the first of more Third Culture Presents shows which will host “acts that push the envelope of live music.” He adds, “A lot of these kind of acts come to India and you’ll only see them at a festival, but we’re doing it in a concert format.”

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Tickets for the show in Mumbai (supported by a live set from Mumbai producer Kumail at the Royal Opera House) start at Rs 1,500 and go up to Rs 4,000, while the New Delhi show (with support from DJ MoCity) at Oddbird Theatre has priced tickets starting from Rs 1,500 for early bird sale.

Get tickets for Mumbai here and New Delhi here. Watch the video for “Street Fighter Mas” below.

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