July 25, 2024

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CD review: Kamasi Washington – Live At Newport 2021: Video, CD cover

Speaking of overwhelming, I thought for a moment that tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington, the Quad stage headliner for Day 1, had blown out his microphone on his very first solo. The problem turned out to be just a bad cable, but still … phew.

More than ever, Washington seems to be evolving into a younger generation’s version of Pharoah Sanders, from the overall grace and largesse of his demeanor to the sense of spirituality and Black consciousness that pours forth from his music to, yes, his sheer intensity as a performer. You can never say he doesn’t bring it. Last time Washington played Newport, two years ago, it didn’t feel like his band quite matched that power; this time, with slightly different membership (including Ben Williams on acoustic bass), they were far less laid-back, frequently and pleasurably edging into total-assault territory. “Sun Kissed Child” was a moving highlight, with solo spots for Washington’s father Rickey on flute, DJ Battlecat on turntables, and Tony Austin, one of two drummers and two percussionists on stage.

1. Intro 2:20
2. Drive 8:13
3. Announcement 4:56
4. Sun Kissed Child 16:59
5. Truth 14:54
6. Hub-Tones [Freddie Hubbard] 10:51
7. Fists of Fury 12:28

Newport Jazz Festival. Ft Adams State Park, Newport, RI; July 30, 2021
Kamasi Washington – saxophone
Rickey Washington – flute, soprano sax
Dontae Winslow – trumpet
Lemar Guillary – trombone
Cameron Graves – piano, keyboards
DJ Battlecat – turntables
Tony Austin – drums
Ronald Bruner Jr – drums
Ben Williams – stand up bass
Kahlil Cummings – percussion
Allakoi Peete (Alakoie Pete) – percussion
Patrice Quinn – vocals

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