KAMASI WASHINGTON AND THE BUDOS BAND AT BROOKLYN BOWL

Budos Band

GENUINE SOUL MUSIC

“I can’t believe a jazz band filled this place out,” an older gentleman confessed to me as he observed the tightly packed room all the way from the front of the stage to the main bar at Brooklyn Bowl. My first thought was, “It’s not just jazz, it’s Kamasi Washington!”, but I took a second to bite my tongue. He was right. When was the last time I saw any form of jazz music – at an underground wine bar, Fat Cat in NYC, and if I plan correctly, Sunday morning brunch? I too took another full look around the room and was impressed, not because Kamasi Washington wouldn’t bring a big crowd (that was expected), but because people my age, “millennials”, are finally publicly appreciating one of the original music forms, jazz. We just needed an artist – a relatable, funky, genuine, cool, and talented artist – to wake us up and remind us that we need this soulful music in our lives.

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On the first night of the two-day New Year’s Eve run of the show, the heavy metal meets soul brass band, The Budos Band, took over the stage with their nine rowdy, full of life and booze, members. It was a cleverly booked night – a night of few words and better music – as the Budos members seem to ignite their instruments, each playing with a passion and intensity for their instrumental tracks. The set started off with a movie trailer style build up in their song “Into The Fog”, that set the tone for the evening – epic.

It’s been a rough 2016 but The Budos Band is here to take all your problems away,” Jared Tankel baritone saxophone player and usual frontman cheered into the audience as the drummer broke the head of the bass drum… as if you needed any more proof these guys rock hard. With a set list of fifteen fine crafted and powerful songs, the crowd felt alive and awoken while, not just listening to sweet Afro-beat accents hit the air, but also watching the gypsy road show that was going down. Bassist Daniel Foder held up his reputable heavy metal stage presence rocking his bass vertical into the air and working the stage left and right. Also, it’s safe to say that no one rocks the congas as hard as, (hopefully the not underrated player in this game), percussionist Rob Lombardo, who was treating the crowd with beer from their rider in-between wild playing. Both distinguishable elements of what makes the The Budos Band such an amazing live experience.  

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Stirred up and ready, the crowd exploded with applause when Kamasi Washington (jazz saxophonist / producer /band leader) and his The Next Step band filled the stage. After releasing a triple album The Epic in 2015, touring this summer across stages at festivals like Newport Jazz Festival, Bonnaroo, and Coachella, and continuing his appeal to the next generation by collaborating with Kendrick Lamar, it’s no surprise that Brooklyn Bowl wanted him to grace their presence two nights in a row. Kamasi stood aside the talented Ryan Porter (trombone) and newly added live member, upright bassist Ben William, as he led the set with grooves as he sang, “We here in Brooklyn, baby.”

The second song in, keyboardist Brandon Coleman took us on a five minute keyboard solo journey, playing the two sets of keys he had on stage with a huge smile and dancing fingers. Kamasi introduced the next track by Brandon, who he also referred to as “Professor Boogie”, as one of his favorites, ‘Giant Feelings’ with its lyrics of hope and peace as the jazz, soul music continued.

Just like at Bonnaroo and other live performances, Washington then introduced his dad Ricky who joined them on the stage to perform a song he wrote for his hardworking mother. Vocalist Patrice Quinn lead the vocals, “Let me tell you a story…” as the Brooklyn Bowl tightly packed crowd swayed under the dim disco ball. Kamasi’s fingers on the saxophone never seemed to stop moving as he belted out each note from the heart. You could see it. And you could certainly feel it.  

What we needed this year – what we need every year – is some more music that comes genuinely from the soul. Music that comes from years of training, experimenting, and testing the open waters of how a genre is defined. Our generation can’t underestimate the power of talented musicians and passionate performers. And for that, Kamasi Washington & The Next Step and The Budos Band are just the right cocktail to cheers to as we bring in the new year. Cheers to the heart that’s in music, and may it carry us into 2017.

// The Budos Band Set List

Kamasi Washington
Kamasi Washington

Photos © Brittany “NO FOMO”. All Rights Reserved.

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