Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Kamasi Washington (born February 18, 1981) is an American jazz saxophonist, composer, producer, and bandleader. Washington is known mainly for playing tenor saxophone.[1] He received widespread acclaim for his 2015 album The Epic.

Kamasi Washington
Kamasi Washington (2015).jpg
Washington at the BRIC JazzFest Marathon, Brooklyn, New York, 2015
Background information
Born (1981-02-18) February 18, 1981 (age 37)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Saxophone
Associated acts Flying Lotus, Ibeyi, Kendrick Lamar, Run the Jewels, Thundercat



Kamasi Washington was born in Los Angeles, California, on February 2, 1981[2] to musical parents and educators, and was raised in Inglewood, California. He is a graduate of the Academy of Music of Alexander Hamilton High School in Beverlywood, Los Angeles.[1] Washington next enrolled in UCLA's Department of Ethnomusicology, where he began playing with faculty members such as Kenny Burrell, Billy Higgins and band leader/trumpeter Gerald Wilson. Washington features in the album Young Jazz Giants in 2004.[3] He has played along with a diverse group of musicians including Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Horace Tapscott, Gerald Wilson, Lauryn Hill, Nas, Snoop Dogg,[4] George Duke, Chaka Khan, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Mike Muir, Francisco Aguabella, the Pan Afrikaan People's Orchestra and Raphael Saadiq.

Kamasi Washington performing at Coachella in 2016

Washington ventured into big band music when he joined the Gerald Wilson Orchestra for their 2006 album In My Time.[5] Washington played saxophone on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly.[6] His debut solo recording, The Epic, was released in May 2015 to critical acclaim.[7]


  • Winner, 1999 : John Coltrane Music Competition

Music festivals and benefitsEdit


As leaderEdit

As sidemanEdit

With Throttle Elevator Music

  • Throttle Elevator Music (Wide Hive, 2012)
  • Area J (Wide Hive, 2014)
  • Jagged Rocks (Wide Hive, 2015)
  • Throttle Elevator Music IV (Wide Hive, 2016)[12]

With the Gerald Wilson Orchestra


  1. ^ a b Serrano, Shea (2012-07-05). "Music Picks: Hootenanny, The Moonbeams, Kamasi Washington". Retrieved 2015-05-05. 
  2. ^ Welch, Will. "Meet Kamasi Washington, the High Priest of Sax." GQ, January 5, 2016. Retrieved May 15, 2016.
  3. ^ Kellman, Andy. "Kamasi Washington | Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  4. ^ "Listen to Kamasi Washington Talk Kendrick, Coltrane, More With Marc Maron on "WTF"". Retrieved 2016-09-30. 
  5. ^ Blanco, Edward. "Gerald Wilson Orchestra: In My Time.", January 4, 2006.
  6. ^ Weiner, Natalie (March 26, 2015). "How Kendrick Lamar Transformed Into 'The John Coltrane of Hip-Hop' on 'To Pimp a Butterfly'". Billboard. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  7. ^ Colter Walls, Seth (8 May 2015). "Kamasi Washington: The Epic". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 8 May 2015. 
  8. ^ "Kamasi Washington." Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  9. ^ "Electric Forest Festival." Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  10. ^ Thom Jurek. "The Epic – Kamasi Washington | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2015-05-05. 
  11. ^ "Kamasi Washington announces Harmony of Difference EP release on 12"". 31 July 2017. Retrieved 2 November 2017. 
  12. ^ "Throttle Elevator Music – Album Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 30 August 2016. 

External linksEdit