Kamasi Washington and his band came through Brooklyn’s Kings Theatre this week as part of his latest round of winter tour dates. Although there has not been new music since 2018s critically acclaimed double LP, Heaven and Earth, Kamasi just released a film, Kamasi Washington Live at the Apollo Theater, on Amazon Prime Video. The live film was recorded at Kamasi’s show at the Harlem theater on February 23, 2019.
Watch the excerpt for “Street Fighter Mas” HERE.
The show opened with a short R&B and Soul DJ set from Natasha Diggs. Natasha paid homage to many late artists with her set; music filled the room as fans filed into their seats. The setting was a perfect fit for Kamasi’s music, and the first thing he said when the band took the stage was in admiration the beautiful theater.
Flanked by two drum sets, Kamasi stood center stage and dove straight into “Street Fighter Mas” from Heaven and Earth. When the band plays live, they tend to only play five or six songs, but extend them with solos and improvs to fill a nearly two-hour set. Both drummers took their turn during the show, delivering very different drum solos, accompanied by two separate solos on upright bass.
After the first song, Kamasi introduced his father, Rickey Washington, on stage who continued to play flute and soprano saxophone for the rest of the night. The father and son stood side by side. The chemistry between them could be felt across the theater.
The main set ended with a lengthy rendition of “Fists of Fury,” which featured soaring vocals from singer Patrice Quinn. There were several movements during the performance of this track, but the final solo of the night was reserved for Kamasi on tenor. The man is a master on the saxophone and his solo ended with a standing ovation from the audience, followed by a reprise of the epic conclusion. It was the most powerful moment, ending the show with a thunderous finish.
In addition to the live film, Kamasi released the stand alone track “The Bombshell’s Waltz,” earlier this month also on Amazon Music. The band is just beginning this stretch of live dates, which continue across North America until a final show on March 12 in San Antonio – see the full itinerary HERE.