INTERVIEW: Kamasi Washington On Truth, His New EP, Working With Jam Bands & Hip-Hop Stars

first_img…[Photo: Phierce Photo by Keith G.]Kamasi Washington’s five-step program—”Desire”, “Humility”, “Knowledge”, “Perspective”, “Integrity”—culminates in the lengthy, multi-part “Truth”, a sonic and thematic distillation of the individual movements’ themes. In the Whitney exhibit, a film was displayed featuring five paintings focused on raw shapes and colors, each inspired by one of the first five movements of the suite. For the final number, the paintings were layered on top of each other to create a new, sixth image: an abstract depiction of a human face–the creation of harmony and cohesiveness out of difference; the attainment of Truth.All five pieces, refracted emotions, together reveal a single, more complete ideal when observed through the philosophical lens Kamasi lays out. But to hear Kamasi say it feels almost too simple—or, at the very least, much easier said than done. Why else would today’s world have such a tenuous grasp on the concept of Truth? Particularly in recent weeks, we’ve witnessed a deluge of past victims of assault and impropriety come forward and reveal truths that they’ve been forced to internalize for years. We’ve seen countless people we once admired and respected cast in starkly horrifying light as the truth of their actions bubbles to the surface, challenging our perceptions of the world.“I think it’s great that people are finally pulling those veils back. And I think the next step is actually doing something to not just punish, but prevent. I think that there’s a shortage of education and understanding,” he explains. “You know, racism, sexism, bigotry—all those things…they’re knowledge, they’re learned. I feel like, in general, they are pressed upon people, pushed upon them. And if we just kind of sit back passively and accept them, then they’re gonna show up. You have to be proactive. You have to go after these views before they manifest…Ignorance is the real root of most of our problems. And most of what it is is just a lack of knowledge. Most people are trying to do the right thing, they just don’t know…People who have been out there a little bit and have had experiences and had real connections with lots of different people, those people are rarely the ones with the most prejudices.”“I think knowledge is a bit more easily manipulated than truth is. It’s all part of the story. The information—even the accurate information—is only part of the whole story, you know what I mean?” He goes on, “There should be a ‘Humanity’ class for kids…to teach you acceptance, fairness…I know people don’t want others’ moralities being pressed upon them. But I think that there’s a kind of baseline level of morality that we all can come in agreement over. And there should be more education in that. Because [these views] form as a kid. We need to teach understanding…It’s the difference between ‘truth’ and ‘knowledge,’ you know what I mean?”…[Photo: Phierce Photo by Keith G.]Kamasi Washington got his education in understanding—in the harmony of difference—coming up in the L.A. jazz world. It afforded him a crash course on the inherent Truth in live performance, in chemistry; that intangible yet all-too-real “lightning-in-a-bottle” feeling you can’t quite catch with a recording.“It is kind of hard to capture that feeling in a record because when you listen to a live performance, in a way, you’re a contributor. When you listen to a recording, you’re an observer.” Kamasi explains. “When you listen to a recording, you’re observing a moment in time. When you listen to a live show, you’re in a moment in time.”“I’m super sensitive to that, deliberately,” says Washington. “I try to make the music a reflection of the moment and time and place that I’m in. I kind of try to take the vibe that’s in the room and start there, and then go somewhere from there. You can feel it as the set’s going. You feel where the energy is kind of moving, you know, and just go with that. It always ends up making music more fun,” he says. “It’s almost like ‘rowing with the current’ or ‘rowing against it,’ you know? If you’re rowing with the current, then you really get to movin’, and the music is just wide open. But you kind of have to let go—let go of any preconceived notions of what the show was gonna be, and let it be what it is.”Kamasi has vivid memories of the nights when that intangible feeling was in play. “Those moments, where it’s just special, I’ve had a lot of them,” he reflects. “Definitely that first show we did [behind The Epic]—my album release party—it’s a strong memory for me, because it was almost, like, my whole musical community: my whole city, my whole family, extended family, beyond just my blood.”“The Los Angeles music scene, and especially the jazz scene has been so opaque for so long, and that show just felt like the Berlin Wall coming down,” he remembers with a laugh.“That night, it felt like it was bigger than the music. Musically, it was great, but even beyond that, it was really that thing of the whole room really being in one place, in one mind, in one thing. And it was a long one—I think we played, like, five hours, or something crazy like that. But it felt like one minute.”Watch footage from Kamasi Washington’s album release party For The Epic below:  Kamasi Washington‘s latest EP, Harmony of Difference, wasn’t conceived as an album at all. It was created as the audio portion of a multi-media exhibit at New York’s vaunted Whitney Museum as part of their long-running and highly-regarded biennial survey of American art. “Normally when I write, the music comes first, and then I basically try to figure out what it’s about just like anyone else,” Kamasi says with a laugh via a phone call from Illinois. “It comes, I write it out, play it, and then I’m like, ‘Oh, that’s what this is.’ But the idea of a Harmony of Difference was what came first.” It was a study counterpoint, an exercise in introspection, in making opposing ideas come together to create something greater than the sum of its parts.Kamasi Washington To Be Joined By Robert Randolph and Break Science In NYCOut of that over-arching idea grew a single, specific focus: an examination of Truth, its composite notions and emotions, and the path that one must traverse to attain it. “I was trying to think of, you know, within this idea of Harmony of Difference, what I’m really trying to give to you…and that’s where ‘Truth’ came from. So [the EP’s final track] ‘Truth’ was actually the first title.”With “Truth” as a starting point, Kamasi began to conduct a logical emotional inventory of what that lofty ideal truly entails, and the concepts for the project’s individual movements followed. He continues, “I tried to think of, almost, the steps, or the path, to finding ‘Truth’, and sort of write the songs from those ideas.”As he begins to explain the meaning and placement of each Harmony of Difference movement, the big picture of the project comes into focus, and the tissues connecting the tracks’ distinct themes begin to show: “So [Opening track] ‘Desire’ is the beginning stage of someone’s journey to a greater Truth—you have to want it. And if you don’t really want it, you’re never gonna get it, because it’s something you have to work at,” he instructs. “Then ‘Humility’ is about being honest with yourself that you don’t know. So you have to want the Truth, and then you have to be honest and sure enough of yourself to accept the fact that you don’t have it. That can be the most difficult thing, actually, accepting your own weaknesses and your own failures and your own defeats.”“‘Knowledge’“, he goes on, “is the true first step: To learn, to go out, observe, experience things. Then there’s  ‘Perspective’—the wisdom that comes from knowledge, you know? Knowledge in itself is not very useful without a greater understanding and a greater realization of what you are in perspective, with the knowledge that you have—What is your perspective, what are you trying to understand, how does your knowledge relate to that. And then ‘Integrity’ is basically the final stage…At the end of the day, if you go on that journey, whatever truth you’re looking for, you’ll probably find it–but a lot of times what you find is not what you wanted. To really have that Truth, you have to have integrity…accept what you get.”Listen to Kamasi Washington’s ‘Harmony of Difference’ below: [Video: KamasiWashington]…As he’s broken out of L.A. and into the great big world beyond it, Kamasi Washington has worked with a dizzying array of artists from the furthest opposing corners of the music world. From St. Vincent to Run The Jewels, Soulive to Herbie Hancock—from jamming on festival main stages with The String Cheese Incident to composing orchestrations for Kendrick Lamar‘s revered 2015 studio album, To Pimp A Butterfly.Kamasi’s creative palette has colored music that could not sound more different–and that’s by design. He’s quick to explain in what ways playing with a String Cheese Incident differs from working with a Kendrick Lamar: “Oh, well, kinda, in every way possible,” he decides with a chuckle, reflecting on the bizarre fact that his resume prompts any connection between the ski-town jam band and the conscious Compton rapper.“That’s been my upbringing as a musician: just playing with different people, different styles,” he says. “I go into each one with a blank slate. I don’t even try to do what I do with Kendrick with String Cheese. If I’m playing with someone else and it’s their thing, I always try to speak their dialect, you know? But then try to bring something to it. It’s almost like, I come to the party prepared to eat the meal you prepared, but then I bring a dessert, you know? [laughs] Or I’ll bring a bottle of wine or something. So when I come to play with String Cheese, I try to get in their vibe and then see if there’s something in there that maybe I can add. Like ‘this would be nice in here, but it’s not there, so maybe I can add that. Okay, cool.’ And that’s all part of that experience. So what I may be able to add to them is different from what I may be able to add to Kendrick, because what Kendrick is trying to do is so different from what they’re trying to do.”String Cheese Incident with Kamasi Washington & Sheryl Renee — “I Want To Take You Higher”, Red Rocks, 7/16/2017[Video: The String Cheese Incident]…As to which paths his journey may take next, Kamasi Washington is, as usual, open to whatever comes. “The world kind of dictates it, in a lot of ways,” he says pensively. “I don’t know…And myself–I change, the world changes. When I was making The Epic, it was really about trying to express who I am. That’s what I was really trying to do. Because at that point in my life, that was kind of missing. I was using my talents to express other people’s feelings, other people’s visions. And I felt like I was almost losing sight of my own, so that was the reason I had that ‘moment’. On Harmony of Difference, it was about how the world was going—overarching energy and air was starting to turn. I felt compelled to do something to counteract it. Everyone was throwing dirt, let me sweep some up [laughs], because that’s where I felt like I was at.”“Lately,” he confides, “I’ve been playing so much of my own music and touring for so long that I felt like, kinda, in my own head a bit. And so that’s kind of where my energy is now, it’s kind of really introspective—looking at who I am, what I am, what do I really think. I feel like it changes. I never wanna lock myself into one thing because that may not be what’s me, you know? You wanna be open. You don’t wanna always be wearing hiking boots, and then you get to the lake and you’ve gotta swim, you know what I mean? I kinda keep it open. One day I might need to climb, another day I might need to swim.”Whether he’s hiking, swimming, flying, or trying something new and different we haven’t seen before; whatever journeys he goes on next—all signs indicate that it will be a path worth following with him. And that’s the truth…On Wednesday, November 22nd, Kamasi Washington will make his way to Terminal 5 NYC for a special Thanksgiving-Eve performance featuring an appearance from sacred steel guitar master Robert Randolph with special guests Break Science. As Kamasi notes, “There’s an intensity to New York which I don’t think exists anywhere else.”You can purchase tickets to the performance HERE.Enter To Win A Pair Of VIP Tickets Below!last_img read more

Voodoo Dead Announces Boulder Show With Oteil Burbridge, Jeff Chimenti, Steve & John Kimock

first_imgVoodoo Dead has announced an additional date on their upcoming Colorado run, set to take place at Boulder’s Fox Theatre on Sunday, November 11th. The band, an all-star tribute to the Grateful Dead colored by the spirit of American roots music and the character of New Orleans, will feature bassist Oteil Burbridge (Dead & Company), guitarist Steve Kimock (The Other Ones, RatDog), keyboardist Jeff Chimenti (Dead & Company), and drummer John Kimock (Mike Gordon), and some as-of-yet unannounced special guests. The newly announced Boulder date on November 11th will come on the heels of two previously announced Colorado shows that week, on Friday, November 9th and Saturday, November 10th at the Gothic Theatre in Englewood, CO.Voodoo Dead Welcomes Brandon “TAZ” Niederauer For Meters Cover In NYC [Photos/Video/Full Audio]Voodoo Dead debuted in 2015 during NOLA Jazz Festival as a supergroup with Steve Kimock, Bill Kreutzmann, Jeff Chimenti, Dave Schools, and Keller Williams. With a slightly varied lineup, it’s gone on to become an annual late-night staple at JazzFest in addition to playing a sold-out Northeast tour in February 2017. Voodoo Dead also amazed fans on Jam Cruise 16 with two guest-heavy performances featuring collaborations with Roosevelt Collier, Jen Hartswick, Tom Hamilton, Kat Wright, and others. The band has also included such outstanding players as George Porter Jr., Wally Ingram, Papa Mali, and many more.Tickets for Voodoo Dead’s newly announced Boulder show go on sale this Friday, September 14th at 10 a.m. local time here. Tickets for Voodoo Dead’s Gothic Theatre shows are now available here.last_img read more

LIAT condoles with the people of St. Vincent & the Grenadines

first_img Share 162 Views   no discussions Sharing is caring! ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, January 14, 2015 – The Board of Directors, Management and Staff of LIAT (1974) Ltd has heard the tragic news concerning the loss of a number of lives, including school children, following the tragic accident in St. Vincent & the Grenadines on Monday.Chief Executive Officer David Evans said everyone at LIAT joins in extending deepest sympathies to the Government and people of St. Vincent & the Grenadines following the tragic accident.“It was with a deep sense of sadness that all of us at LIAT learnt of Monday’s accident. As you deal with this tragedy, please be assured that the entire nation in general, and those who were affected in particular, are in our thoughts.” Tweetcenter_img Share Share BusinessLifestyleTravel LIAT condoles with the people of St. Vincent & the Grenadines by: – January 14, 2015last_img read more

Making the grade: Six games in, SU receives its report card

first_img Published on October 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Grades: QB: B RB: B- WR: B TE: C+AdvertisementThis is placeholder text OL: D+ DL: C LB: B DB: C+ ST: B Coaching: B- Quarterback: Despite having a particularly rough time Saturday against Pitt, Ryan Nassib has been one of the driving forces behind an improved Syracuse offense this season. Nassib has passed for 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions through SU’s first six games. That makes him just the sixth most efficient passer in the conference, but still much improved upon the eight touchdowns and 10 picks Greg Paulus threw in the Orange’s first six games last season. Perhaps more importantly, Nassib has shown an ability to keep opposing defenses honest with the deep ball — a key component that wasn’t available at the quarterback position a year ago. Ultimately, Nassib is still a work in progress. But through his first six starts, he’s shown he’s capable of being a legitimate Big East signal caller. Running back: As a unit, the SU running backs have been average. The team currently sits at 65th in the nation out of 120 teams, averaging 149.3 yards per game. Delone Carter improved upon his numbers from last year, as he is averaging five yards per carry and 93.7 yards per game. But against the Orange’s two real tests this year, he struggled. Against Pitt, he never got going, amounting 38 yards on just 13 carries. And against Washington, he failed to reach the end zone. Junior Antwon Bailey has also been productive for the Orange at times, but he has been used sparingly. Overall, this is a unit that has just scraped by with the talent and ceiling it has collectively. Wide receivers: This unit has been an overall surprise. Van Chew has developed into a legitimate No. 1 big-play threat. Alec Lemon is a solid No. 2 possession receiver. And even as the group has suffered through a significant amount of season-ending injuries, more people keep stepping up. Marcus Sales had four catches against Pittsburgh, as well as the game-winning touchdown catch at USF. Tight end: Doug Marrone likes the talent he has at the tight end position, and so far the Syracuse head coach has used them without hesitation. Nick Provo (15 catches, 174 yards) has the speed and agility to cause headaches for opposing linebackers who try to cover him. He’s used that to his advantage, serving as one of Nassib’s safety valves around the first-down marker. Jose Cruz has given the Orange a blocking tight end who can also catch balls near the goal line and in short-yardage situations. And even freshman Beckett Wales has played a role this season, making the position one of the more productive on the team early. Offensive line: A former lineman himself, Doug Marrone knew how important the unit would be to his team’s overall success. And right now, the offensive line stands about where the Orange stands as a whole. The line has gone through the expected ups and downs. As of now, the unit is right in the middle of the pack, tied for 66th in sacks allowed. And it has paved the way for the 65th-ranked rushing attack in the nation. Defensive line: The defensive line has meshed well at most times this season with the secondary and linebackers in forming defensive coordinator Scott Shafer’s trademark attacking defense. The line has played well with a core front four of Mikhail Marinovich, Andrew Lewis, Bud Tribbey and Chandler Jones keeping SU’s opponents to just 124 yards on the ground per game. SU’s opposition is also being held to just 16 first downs per game, good enough for 19th in the nation. But against the two teams with high-caliber athletes this season, the line gave up 175 rushing yards on just 33 carries to Washington. And against Pittsburgh, the Orange rush failed to put any element of pressure on quarterback Tino Sunseri. Linebackers: The linebacker position was supposed to be the strength of the SU defense coming into the season, and so far it has not disappointed. Senior Derrell Smith leads the Orange with 51 total tackles on the season, including three tackles for loss. Doug Hogue follows with 39 tackles. But the surprise has come from freshman Marquis Spruill, who was thrust into the third starting spot. Spruill has been noticed not just for his neck roll that bulges out of the top of his jersey, but because he has two sacks and five tackles for loss this season. Secondary: Easily one of the most unpredictable units on the entire team, the secondary has been on quite a roller coaster ride this season. In the four SU wins, the secondary has allowed just 510 yards and one touchdown through the air. But in its two losses, it has been absolutely torched, allowing 558 yards and eight touchdowns. The difference is astounding and shows the importance of the play of the secondary. Against Pitt, the secondary missed tackles and was continually burned for big plays. If the Orange reverts back to where it was heading into last weekend, it will certainly pay dividends down the road. Special teams: Here is where the Orange has been rock solid all season in all elements of special teams. Case in point: Freshman kicker Ross Krautman has gone 6-for-7 with a long of 47. He also hasn’t missed a field goal from less than 40 yards. Rob Long has been, well, Rob Long, helping the Orange with punts averaging 43.6 yards. As for the return game, Mike Holmes has shown flashes of brilliance, as he has run with the ball and read blockers with vision not normally seen from a cornerback. Whenever he has touched it, it has felt like the play may break through. But still he hasn’t. Prince-Tyson Gulley has been just OK. Coaching: From SU’s head coach, there have been tears of joy. There have been apologies for poor play. The season has already been quite an emotional one. And there have been ups and downs on the coaching side as well. The win at USF was the high point, when, at least for a quarter, offense and defense were completely in sync. The not-even-close loss to Pittsburgh was the low point, when SU safety Max Suter said the Orange wasn’t ready to play. But overall, Doug Marrone’s plan is on the right track. Biggest gain: Marquis Spruill Spruill has easily been the top newcomer to the defense, leading the team in tackles for loss (5.0). He is tied for second in sacks (2.0) and fifth in tackles (29) through SU’s first five games. In the second half of SU’s season, a challenge for Spruill will be to improve his pass-coverage abilities. Despite his capabilities, he’s still far from a finished product. Biggest loss: Aaron Weaver The Orange has lost several players due to injury, but Weaver was the most important of the bunch. Slated to play a big role in the passing game after transferring from Hofstra when the football program was disbanded, Weaver was lost for the season with a torn ACL less than three weeks into the season. Now the Orange has been forced to use Nick Provo, Antwon Bailey and the inconsistent Marcus Sales to fill the void. The trio has played a role in the passing game, but the loss of Weaver has not gone unnoticed. Best single play: Marcus Sales touchdown catch to beat USF Down by three, Syracuse had driven 95 yards and needed an opportunity to punch it in the end zone. Enter Marcus Sales. The scarcely used receiver hadn’t caught a pass all season, and he was the last person expected to make a game-winning catch that would send the Orange home with a victory — its first ever against the Bulls. But his first catch of the season was the most important one of the season for Syracuse. Biggest surprise: Van Chew Yes, there was all the talk in the spring and the summer about Chew. He was all the rage in spring ball, thanks to his newfound peanut butter and jelly-fortified limbs and his sudden Velcro hands. Chew didn’t drop passes and was making plays. That was supposed to be only for the preseason, but it has dragged into the regular season — and then some. Chew has become the Orange’s No. 1 option in the receiving game, as Ryan Nassib has relied on Chew as consistent deep threat. Unlike receivers of recent SU past, Chew hasn’t dropped what he has even had the opportunity to get his hands on. On the year, he is averaging 75.3 yards per game, and he has caught three touchdowns. Biggest disappointment: Alec Lemon Lemon is the de facto winner here, as his numbers haven’t measured up to those of the No. 1 receiver everyone expected him to be this year. Everyone knew Lemon wouldn’t be the deep-threat receiver Ryan Nassib needed and Van Chew has become. But what wasn’t expected was almost half the number of receiving yards after three games than Chew. And with that, the main reason why Lemon has been the biggest disappointment is because of his lack of ability to make a big play. Sure, Lemon is tied for the team lead in touchdown receptions with three, but on most big plays, Lemon hasn’t come through. Against Pitt, the nail in the coffin was his fumble in the red zone. Best game Syracuse 13, USF 9 In a brash defensive game that, at points, was difficult to watch, the final 10 riveting minutes in this game led SU to the biggest win of its season. The culmination was a 14-play, 98-yard drive that ended with Marcus Sales holding the ball in the end zone, giving the Orange the four-point lead it would never relinquish. And it quickly turned into the most important win under Marrone. Worst game Pittsburgh 45, Syracuse 14 It’s a pretty easy choice here. The Pitt game was the worst-case scenario for this team and this program. Doug Marrone knew, going into the game, the kind of opportunity it presented. For one weekend, all eyes were on the SU football program. Win and all eyes would continue to be on you. All of Syracuse and the nation would consider you contenders. The Orange lost, but in its worst-case scenario, SU was trampled. The second half didn’t matter. Offensive MVP Ryan Nassib One year after it was originally supposed to happen, Ryan Nassib stepped onto the field in SU’s opener as the starting quarterback. And aside from a few struggles in SU’s past two games, Nassib has answered most of the questions that surrounded him coming into the year. From the beginning, he displayed his dynamic arm strength and surprising mobility in scrambling. And he showed what he was capable of during an elegant 14-play, 98-yard drive to beat USF. Defensive MVP Derrell Smith As the Orange’s senior captain on defense, Smith has steadied the 18th-ranked total defense in the nation. Smith continues to be a tackling machine game in and game out, leading SU by far with 51 total tackles on the season. Perhaps his most memorable play of the season came when he forced a momentous fumble to lead the Orange to victory in its home opener against Maine. [email protected] [email protected] [email protected]last_img read more