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Kamasi Washington
Wednesday 08/26
Kamasi Washington @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $25
At the age of 13 Kamasi Washington decided to begin a life long quest of the many wonders to be found in music. He made this decision one night when after a rehearsal at his home his father left his soprano saxophone lying on the piano and left Kamasi with an uncontrollable curiosity of all the beauty he’d just heard come from it. So he took father’s horn, and even though he didn’t know anything about the saxophone, in fact he’d never even touched a saxophone, and played Wayne Shorter’s “Sleeping Dancer Sleep On”, his favorite song at the time. Kamasi was shocked he had been playing drums, piano, and clarinet for years but he’d never played the saxophone. Yet he was somehow able to play a song from his heart and in that received an early glimpse of the euphoria that music can bring. And at that moment he knew that music was his life’s quest and the saxophone was his voice. Within two years Kamasi earned the lead tenor saxophone chair in the top jazz ensemble at the prestigious Hamilton High School Music Academy. At the same time Kamasi joined the Multi School Jazz Band (MSJB) where he was reunited with several child hood friends who were well on their way on their own musical quest. During his senior year of high school Kamasi formed his first band with childhood friends Ronald and Stephen Bruner on drums and bass, along with pianist Cameron Graves. The group was called “The Young Jazz Giants”. After high school Kamasi went on to study ethnomusicology at UCLA were he received a full scholarship and was exposed to many of the non-western musical cultures around the world. In the summer after his freshman year Kamasi recorded his first album with “The Young Jazz Giants” a platform they used to spread the new sound of jazz all around the country. In his second year at UCLA Kamasi went on his first national tour with the west coast hip-hop legend Snoop Dog. Ironically this band was made of many of the most talented young jazz musicians in the country. Later that year Kamasi joined The Gerald Wilson orchestra. Gerald Wilson was his biggest hero compositionally and being a part of his orchestra motivated him to make composition the focus of his major at UCLA. In doing so Kamasi began studying many of the great American and European composers. After his senior year at UCLA Kamasi went on his first international tour with RnB legend Raphael Saadiq who had ¾ of “The Young Jazz Giants” in his band. Later that year he was given the honor of representing Gerald Wilson’s Los Angeles band on his album “In My Time” witch featured Wilson’s New York based orchestra. Over the next few years Kamasi was blessed to be able to perform and record with many of his musical heroes, from many different genres. He played with legendary jazz artist such as McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Kenny Burrell, and George Duke. At the same time he was working with artist such as Lauryn Hill, Jeffrey Osborne, Mos Def, and Quincy Jones. During this same time Kamasi started his new band called “The Next Step”, a kind of modern spin on a big band, with two drummers, two bassist upright and electric, piano and keyboards, three horns and a vocalist. Recently Kamasi has been touring with legendary musicians Stanley Clarke, Harvey Mason, and Chaka Khan. He’s featured on Harvey Mason’s latest album “Chameleon” and will be featured on Stanley Clarke’s upcoming album as well. Kamasi also has a ground breaking new album coming out on the record label “Brainfeeder” with his band “The Next Step”. It’s a triple disc masterpiece appropriately titled “The Epic”.
Jazz Is Dead feat. Alphonso Johnson, Jeff Pevar, Tom Constanten, Rod Morgenstern & Chris Smith
Wednesday 08/19
Jazz Is Dead feat. Alphonso Johnson, Jeff Pevar, Tom Constanten, Rod Morgenstern & Chris Smith @ The Howard Theatre
$30 / $35
"JAZZ IS DEAD promises to be one of the year's highlight events for the DEAD and jazz communities." - Ian D'giff/Long Island Village Voice "I haven't witnessed such a vibrant DEAD scene since JERRY's passing." - Steve Bloom/High Times on the Variety Playhouse show in Atlanta, GA "JAZZ IS DEAD not only exceeded my expectations (the crowd went wild!) but so did ticket sales. The show sold out and I hope we have JAZZ IS DEAD back to the House of Blues in the near future." - Michael Yerke/House Of Blues, Chicago, Ill "JAZZ IS DEAD would not normally be the first show I would choose to go to, or at least drive two hours for. I was, however sucked in. It is definitely a creation worth seeing, no matter what your musical taste." - Big Shout Magazine on the Keswick Thr. show in Phil., PA "You don't have to be a Deadhead to dig this musical event." - Natalie Davis, Baltimore City Paper "It was awesome to see such incredible musicians taking the DEAD'S music and spinning it into their own magical expression, putting a hip jazz twist into it." - Neil Wigenbach/KPFT, Houston, TX I. A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE MUSIC: Led by highly stylized, virtuoso guitar player JERRY GARCIA, San Francisco’s GRATEFUL DEAD formed in 1965. Their music was a unique amalgam of bluegrass, folk, blues, motown & rock and roll, evolving to later include elements of jazz - the latter particularly, as regarded their penchant for free-form improvisation. In their time, GRATEFUL DEAD were the highest grossing concert attraction in the history of the touring talent industry, an unexpected statistic, when measured against ‘mediocre’ record sales. There are two reasons to explain this: First, GRATEFUL DEAD performed more than anyone else - three major tours (approx. 100 shows) a year since the advent of ‘arena rock’ circa 1972. Whereas THE ROLLING STONES or U2 for example, easily out grossed THE DEAD in any calendar year, the latter two (as with any major attraction) chose to tour every three to five years on average. Beside the physical demands of the road, no arena/ stadium sized attraction would dare tour in consecutive years, fearing depletion of market demand from overexposure. Second, GRATEFUL DEAD played long shows (3 to 6 hours), consisting of two sets with an intermission - working from an active repertoire of over 100 original compositions and cover material ... reprised differently from show to show, in off times bizarre & unexpected medleys - segue ways interwoven with lengthy, jazz-like, ‘psychedlic’ improvisations & dynamic drum solos. Over the course of a thirty or forty city tour, no two shows would be alike. On top of all of this, the band allowed ... even encouraged the fans to tape record the performances - unheard of in a record industry whose chief fear was ‘bootlegging’. Yet, instead of 'bootlegging' (selling the clandestinely recorded tapes for profit), the fans codified the phenomenon ... recounted orally from fan to fan, musically from tape to tape. II. BACKROUND: On August 9, 1995, at the age of 53, JERRY GARCIA died from heart failure in Northern California, where he was born and began an American musical legacy that is sure to reverberate down through the generations. A short time thereafter, GRATEFUL DEAD announced that it's existence as an ongoing, performing entity, was at an end. In the wake of these events, some remaining DEAD members and close musical associates that had played with GARCIA in other projects endeavored to continue the journey. In 1996, the DEAD's BOB WEIR and MICKEY HART created "Further Festival," a revolving retinue of Artists that had admired GARCIA and the spirit his music embodied. This ensemble featured JAZZ IS DEAD co founder, WEATHER REPORT bassist ALPHONOS JOHNSON (who had previously toured and recorded with BOB WEIR). At the beginning of 2015, the surviving members of GRATEFUL DEAD announced historic “Fare Thee Well” (farewell) concerts) … inspiring JAZZ IS DEAD to reform and likewise celebrate GRATEFUL DEAD’s 50th Anniversary. III. OVERVIEW: JAZZ IS DEAD, "Explorations Into the Music of GRATEFUL DEAD” embarks from the compass point of GARCIA and company's most complex and audacious material, culled from many periods of their storied history. From there, the musical heading is unknown ... each performance, promising inspired improvisation and new discovery ... crafted by a line-up of stellar players.
W.H.A.T. Band Reunion Show
Sunday 09/20
W.H.A.T. Band Reunion Show @ The Howard Theatre
Free
The brain child of Gogo Legend Christian Black “Rapper Dude” also known as “Rah” formerly of Northeast Groovers, in Washington DC., the W.H.A.T. Band, an acronym for Washingtons Hottest And Talented, was formed in 2000 as a new musical venture to bring his iconic Gogo career into its next phase and seal his contribution to Gogo Music and his status as the most resilient and versatile Lead Talker in Gogo History. After a few phases of direction and membership, the artists and musicians that make up the WHAT Band (what fans now call WHAT Band 2.0) who had the fastest and most impactful meteoric rise from 2004-2012 were comprised of himself, Michelle Blackwell (Co-Manager/Vocalist/Rapper/Lead), Calvin Henry “Killa Cal”/Rapper, Stephon Green/ Vocalist, Michael Harris ”Duce 7”/Percussionist, Jermaine Chase “Rocket Rob”/Conga/RotoTom/Timbale Percussionist, Andrew Wilson “Chuckin’ Drew”/Lead Guitar Player, Rico Munson/Bass Guitar, Joel Sturdivant “Smokin’ Joe”/Drummer, David Cleveland/Keyboards and Vincent Watson “V-Man”/Keyboards. This innovative and creative staple in Gogo Music, W.H.A.T. Band, was known for having a sound and a party atmosphere that separated them from everything else going on within the Gogo Industry, from 3 sets per show, R&B/Crank/Bounce and Rock, W.H.A.T. Bands fans, aptly named “Crank Nation” came to expect a different standard of performance, song selections and diversity, and creativity in theme and delivery from their favorite band. With original songs like “Crystal Skate”“Rock and Roll Bounce Beat”, “Reminsice” ,“09 ”, “That’s my car” and “Carry Out Beat”, as well as classic remakes/covers of songs like “Irreplaceable”, “Hard in the Paint”, and “Drop it Low”, W.H.A.T Bands trendsetting aesthetic helped make them the hottest band in the DMV in the mid to late 2000’s. , landing them the WKYS Gogo Award for Best Female in 2007, The 2008 DC Music Gogo Award for Best Lead Talker, and Band of the Year, and the 2009 DC Music Gogo Award for Best Rapper. The members of this band have all decided, after popular demand to bring all the members, some who have gone on to other bands, moved to other states and/or started other projects, to come together for one night only to commemorate their accomplishments and party with their fans like they used to at the Classics, CFE, LaPearl, Safari Steakhouse, The Tradewinds, Legends and Club Elite on Sunday, September 20th Live at the Howard Theater from 10pm-2am.