Tag Archives: Kamasi Washington

Kamasi Washington Oregon Zoo Saturday, August 17th 2019

Oregon Zoo Saturday, August 17th 2019

Several months ago the Oregon Zoo started announcing performances for their annual summer concert series. Eventually something I was interested was announced and I was excited. Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington would make a stop at the zoo during their 2019 tour. Kamasi I have heard before and seen recently. That performance blew me away so I was excited to see him again. And Herbie, I mean its Herbie Hancock so yeah I was excited to see him too.

One perk of the concert ticket is free admission to the zoo but unfortunately I was unable to partake in this added bonus. Getting to the zoo is still on my local tourist list. Arriving to the venue I highly recommend you take the Max. Either the red or blue west and get off at Washington Park. From there its an elevator rid up and then right for the zoo entrance. Can’t beat it considering the parking lot fills up quickly on the weekend and sold out concerts.

One of the elephants came out and joined us for part of Kamasi’s performance that night.

The stage is set all the way in the back by the elephant enclosure. The zoo has been doing this since 1979 so now they have a permanent stage and facilities which are nice. It is a smallish outdoor amphitheater which is perfectly proportioned I think. Up close they have a traditional reserved seating area. Most of the venue is grass. You are allowed to bring blankest and low chairs so of course do that. Get there as soon as the grounds open to secure a spot on the lawn. I arrived 45 minutes before the show start and it was already at capacity. Lots of food options around the venue which was encouraging to see.

Right on time Kamasi Washington and The Next Step took the stage for an hour long performance. The first time I saw Kamasi his performance blew me away. This time I would say it didn’t have as much energy as the Crystal Ballroom performance. I think it was just the intimacy of the crowd that made the Ballroom a better performance. Still a good crowd but not the same as being packed in with your fellow fan listening to Kamasi groove.

Still a very good performance by everyone. He even brought his father who played with the band all night. He hit some of the classics that have made him famous. Not so much talking this time around, more straight and to the point. I think it was a great opportunity to expose Kamasi to new fans who may not have heard him but wanted to see Herbie. Even one of the elephants managed to come out and see him play.

Next was Herbie Hancock and it was cool to see him play after hearing his music for so many years. He has a talented group of band members but none of them are originals or long standing. They were all good at what they do but if I had to rate the performance I would say average. Herbie was into the music but the other guys just seemed to be playing along for a gig. It was lacking energy. Even when they did Watermelon Man and Cantaloupe Island, it felt forced.

Again, it was great to see Herbie but the performance was lacking. I was here to see Kamasi to be honest and even that performance was just ok. Great venue and I look forward to coming back. I also hope to see Kamasi do another tour and hit a smaller venue in the Portland area. Let’s pack the place and have a groovy time.

Kamasi Washington
Saturday, August 17th 2019
Oregon Zoo – Portland, OR

Set starts at 7:00pm

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  7. Fists of Fury #
    Set over at 8:02pm

Note
# with Herbie Hancock

Herbie Hancock
Saturday, August 17th 2019
Oregon Zoo – Portland, OR

Show starts at 8:31pm

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  4. Actual Proof
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  7. Watermelon Man
    Set over at 938pm

Encore starts at 9:39pm

  1. Cantaloupe Island #
    House lights at 9:50pm

Note
# with Kamasi Washington and his dad

Kamasi Washington Crystal Ballroom Thursday, October 18th 2018

Kamasi Washington Heaven and Earth tour 2018

So Jam_On was my first exposure to Kamasi Washington. Great jazz saxophone player with a good sense of melody and rhythm. He plays tributes to the greats that have come before him by taking what they started and changing it just a bit. He understands where jazz came from and works to make it accessible to everyone.

Never seen him before but I was super excited for the show. Heard only a few of his songs and never a full album. They are expensive as shit on vinyl so I haven’t dropped the coin to make the investment yet. The reviews that I read have all been good. One of his albums, The Epic, has been called a masterpiece and I think won several jazz albums of the year awards. Anyway the jazz community is a buzz over Kamasi and I was ready to see what it was all about.

There was an opening act and their name escapes me. It was a four piece all woman band and they where really good musicians. They knew their instruments but I just couldn’t get into the music. Definitely this soft rock and folk kinda vibe going on. Very slow and melodic. The lead singer would explain each song before they performed it. Lots of powerfully meaning in the lyrics but the music was just so slow. Only at the very end during band introductions did each member really get a chance to strut their stuff. All very talented but not my type of music.

The crowd was definitely feeling the love that night after the opening act and we couldn’t wait for Kamasi to take the stage. After a delayed start things finally got rolling. The first song is there “hit.” Well it was what I recognized from being played on Jam_On regularly. I was glad to hear it and also glad to get that out of the way.

The whole show that night was amazing. After that initial song I didn’t recognize anything else. It was all new to me and being played for the first time. I really went into this show with an open mind and I was not disappointed. Kamasi and his band put on one hell of a performance that night.

The energy and vibe was just great. Kamasi would do some interludes and tell a story or explain the songs, all very informative. Lots of his stuff had a social meaning, a sense of community, that feeling that we can do better when we just love each other. In our currently political environment it was refreshing to hear it. The crowd was absolutely picking up what he was throwing down.

He also told this story about one of his songs, the name escapes me, which I think illustrates his overall story very well. He is a new jazz great but feeds off the work of those that have come before him. He pays tribute to them by incorporating the work they have already done with his playing. It could be a different interpretation of a previous artists’ work. Somehow take that which has already been done and rework it to make it new. The legacy of the old jazz greats live on within Kamasi. He is not trying to supplant them but merely pay tribute to all those that came before him.

The show was only 1.5 hours long and I am sure he touched only a small number of the songs they perform. The performance that night was amazing. Can’t stress this enough, this was a really good show and I can’t wait to see him again when he comes to town. He is a very talented musician who has a great view of the world. He wants to share that vision with as many people as he can and I respect that.

Peace, love, music!