Kamasi Washington’s Message

Josh Robinson, GRAMMY Camp LA

Bill Evans, John Coltrane and Miles Davis posters covered the walls of the combo room where eager GRAMMY Camp instrumentalists awaited an opportunity to speak with Kamasi Washington. Anticipation erupted into applause when Washington entered the room. Carrying his saxophone and sporting tribal prints, Washington was relaxed, yet his excitement was evident as well.

For those who don’t know, Washington is a young and ambitious saxophonist, writer and composer who has worked with artists from Snoop Dogg to Erykah Badu.  Washington grew up in LA and has been practically been playing jazz his whole life. However, he still appreciates great music and believes that fundamentals of great music are there across the board.  One of his most significant pieces of advice to the campers was to keep an open mind because it will open future doors.

Trailing off that advice, Washington presented a concept that all of the campers should remember for the rest of their careers: finding a balance between music and business. “Take every situation for what it is,” he advised, “and make decisions musically first.” Washington wanted to clearly express the difference between monetary value and invaluable experiences. He warned the campers to question whether they’re being used and to always speak up for themselves. He lastly touched on always being available; Washington stressed that your name is everything. “Favors open doors. A $50 gig can turn into being Lenny Kravitz’s music director.”

In the Spotlight

Katherine Ho

GRAMMY Camp LA 2015


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