Widely acclaimed American hip-hop musician and leader of the new jazz revival.
Mosaic Music presents the first performance in Russia by saxophonist Kamasi Washington and his band. With his album The Epic (a three-hour long journey through the history of African American music from gospel to funk) scoring number three on the Billboard jazz album chart and receiving a German Platinum Jazz Award as well as a host of prizes for the best album of 2015 (including the prestigious American Music Prize for the best debut), Kamasi Washington can take the credit for returning jazz to the forefront of contemporary music.
Born to a musical family (his father is a high school music teacher and plays flute in his son's touring band), Kamasi grew up in South Central Los Angeles, known both for its violence (he once found a dead body in the backyard) and a vibrant art scene.
“And that’s right in the heart of it,” the musician recalls, “among all the gangs—art and history.” Washington started playing drums at the age of three, switched to piano at five, and later played clarinet until, at the age of thirteen, he picked up his father’s saxophone and realized that he had found his true voice. Two days later he was playing gospel music in his uncle's church band. However, it was his collaboration with Kendrick Lamar on the latter’s best-selling To Pimp a Butterfly (five Grammy awards), for which Washington played saxophone and provided string arrangements, that brought him international acclaim.
His other hip-hop collaborations include Snoop Dogg, Nas, and Lauryn Hill. In 2017, Washington took part in the Whitney Biennial, where he presented a multimedia installation that consisted of a six-part musical composition and two videos.