By Daniel Paiz
Denver—No stethoscopes or band-aids required, Kamasi Washingon and his seven-piece Jazz band performed a nearly flawless Jazz clinic at the Ogden theater Friday night.
There are those artists that you know are really good musicians and you expect a good performance from, but this show was definitely beyond expectations.
Not only did Kamasi and co. deliver a funky night, but the opener set the night up with a plethora of stories that set the perfect mood for the night.
Victory Boyd sets the scene
Singer songwriters are not musical acts I tend to seek out, but that might have to change after Friday night’s opener. Victory Boyd, whose band is called Victory and consists of her sister on bass, another band member on keys and herself on vocals and guitar, is a natural storyteller.
Her songs ranged from happy and optimistic to defiant and done with the current state of things. The set only lasted about an hour, but a lifetime of stories and experiences encapsulated the music shared.
It was definitely a good way to start off the night, and one that set a precedent of combining styles that aren’t often witnessed by this music fan.
Kamasi tears the roof off
While Victory easily combined aspects of singer-songwriter vibes with Jazz, Kamasi Washington did the same thing with multiple genres as well.
Jazz was of course front and center for the night, but certain songs had elements or Rhythm and Blues, and Rock and Roll.
True to who he is, Kamasi set off the night with “Street Fighter Mas”, in large part because of the “Street Fighter” arcade cabinet set up at the very back of the main Ogden theater space.
The band then went on to perform a number of tracks from his discography, and then played a handful from his newest album, Heaven and Earth, before the ending the night with “Fists of Fury”. The night truly felt like a jam session at certain points because of how each member was highlighted.
Patrice Quinn, Ryan Porter, Brandon Coleman, Miles Mosley, Ronald Bruner Jr., Tony Austin and Washington each fully brought themselves and made sure the others did so as well.
Each band member had their moment in the spotlight, while the other six seamlessly laid the funky groundwork necessary to point all eyes toward the soloist at hand.
Kamasi’s brand of Jazz might just be doing better what other genres have been coming up short on the past two years: creating a musical escape that’s fun and truly heals at the same time.
If, like me, you haven’t been to many Jazz shows, it might be time to change that. Kamasi Washington is a good artist to start with.