Kamasi Washington – The Triffid

Kamasi Washington – The Triffid, Brisbane, 14/03/18

Written by Jack Gobbe

Photos by Travers Southwell


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Washington’s influence was evident first-hand at The Triffid, as young and old music fans alike gathered to witness Washington’s wizardry. “Are you ready to go on a journey?” Washington posed as he graced the stage, a question that soon rang true as the set progressed.

The night was well and truly a journey into the love for jazz and the world itself, with opener ‘Changing of the Guard’ serving as a brilliant introduction to Washington’s wildly talented quintet. Between the experimental keys, trombone, pulsating bass, background vocals, a pair of drummers and of course Washington’s saxophone, one couldn’t help but immediately fall into complete awe of their undeniable talent.

If ‘Guard’ was an introduction to the band, the subsequent ‘Askim’ was a clear display of Washington’s own talent as he unleashed a swirling saxophone solo that validated the immense acclaim he has garnered throughout his career. Nevertheless, solo moments of talent never felt like an egotistical endeavour, more so an expression of love for their craft.

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In fact, Washington frequently broke the set up with his own heart-warming stories revolving around each member of the band. With many members revealed to be childhood friends, Washington would sing their praise before launching into a track that particularly exhibited their exceptional talent.

These interludes furthered the sense of belonging and acceptance that Washington’s journey had so far promoted. This was most notable when Washington introduced “the man that taught [him] everything”, his father Rickey Washington, who contributed his powerful woodwind prowess to the remainder of the set. The motif of love and family found even more importance when Washington and co united to play ‘Henrietta Our Hero’, a tribute to Washington’s late grandmother.

After his pair of drummers mesmerised the audience with an extended solo (“Why shouldn’t I have two of the best drummers instead of just one?” remarked Washington earlier), the band concluded the night with Washington’s recent opus “Truth”, a poignant song that he dedicated to celebrating diversity, whether that be the eclectic fusion of sounds that the track revolved around or the very audience he spoke to. And as the wonderful sounds of all seven members collided to beautiful effect, Washington’s journey revealed itself to be an enlightened and downright mesmerising exhibition of talent, proving jazz is not a thing of the past but in fact a scene worthy of your attention.

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