Kamasi Washington is an acclaimed jazz saxophonist. Washington was born into a musical family in which music was more of a prerequisite than a privilege. But Washington never saw it that way -- his love for music began at first sound.
His father was a high school music teacher by day and a professional saxophonist by night. His mother was an accomplished flutist who fell in love with the world of science and became a high school chemistry teacher after her stint as a genetic researcher.
By age 2, Washington had already begun to play the drums and piano. He began his exploration into the new musical realm of the reeds and brass when he was about 7 and his father gave him a clarinet. By the age of 12 Washington had found his voice in the form of a tenor saxophone, in fact, it was the same saxophone that his father played in high school.
Washington is a graduate of the Academy of Music of Alexander Hamilton High School in Beverlywood, Los Angeles. Washington next enrolled in UCLA's Department of Ethnomusicology, where he began playing with faculty members such as Kenny Burrell, Billy Higgins, and bandleader/trumpeter Gerald Wilson.
Washington features in the album Young Jazz Giants in 2004. He joined the Gerald Wilson Orchestra for its 2005 album In My Time and played saxophone on Kendrick Lamar's 2015 album To Pimp a Butterfly.
Washington has played alongside a diverse group of musicians including Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Horace Tapscott, Gerald Wilson, Lauryn Hill, Nas, Snoop Dogg, George Duke, Chaka Khan, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Mike Muir, Francisco Aguabella, the Pan Afrikaan People's Orchestra, and Raphael Saadiq.
Washington's debut solo album, The Epic, was released in May 2015. The mini-album/EP Harmony of Difference followed in September 2017. His second full-length studio album, Heaven and Earth, was released in June 2018, with a companion EP titled The Choice released a week later.
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