Directed by Eric Coleman
Cinematography + Editing by Laith Majali
I first saw Kamasi Washington play with many of these same musicians in Leimert Park in the early two thousands. It was the same night I first met Miguel Atwood Ferguson. I remember thinking Kamasi was a young Cannonball Adderley – open, charismatic and in full flight already on his instrument. I had the distinct feeling that the future of the music was safe. Although I had no idea just how safe it was.
I met Kamasi again in the lead up to the release of Thundercat’s first record with Brainfeeder. I had the pleasure of shooting that release party with Eric Coleman and Mike Park and we released a short film of it called Thundercat 105 (https://vimeo.com/29753130) and that’s me trying to follow Kamasi’s fingers on the sax with the Nikon 105mm lens. I offered to make our resources available to Kamasi for whatever he needed around then. Kamasi embodies the best of Los Angeles. His commitment, patience and clarity are always re-assuring. The measure of a great musician isn’t just in what he plays but in what he facilitates around him and all these men and woman play and sing pure emotion with Kamasi.
Thundercat told me once “He’s our Pharoah Saunders…”
In late December 2011, a good friend Sufia Toorawa called me and invited me to come down to the Kingsize studios – less than a mile from my house. “Kamasi is there recording you have to see…” Sufia had been helping Kamasi with production and when I got there I realized that it wasn’t just Kamasi but the whole West Coast Get Down. They had been there the entire month. I set up an audio recorder and started shooting the following night and managed three days in total. Those files sat for four years. But in there was the actual take of Rhythm Changes that ended up on the record. I’ve always loved this song and the lyric immediately caught me. Patrice is a wonderful spirit and fits perfectly with the band.
In the ensuing months and now years Kamasi’s stature has only grown, capped this year by his string and horn arrangements on To Pimp a Butterfly for Kendrick Lamar. Kamasi’s record The Epic, eventually got strings and a choir (even including my wife Thalma De Freitas) and by the time the record was released in May of this year the buzz was at fever pitch. On that famous night at the Regent, Kamasi put 1200 L.A. heads of all generations, races and beliefs in the same room on a Monday night paying $40 a head to see four hours of jazz. Yes four hours, yes a Monday night. After the second set, (there was three) I told the poet Kamau Daaood “My chest feels so full man, my heart is beating bigger…” Ethno-musicologist Josh Kuhn asked me “What is this man? This just cant be the Kendrick thing…” I’ve spent the past few months trying to answer this question. Somehow it is Kendrick, it is Los Angeles, it is Kamasi and his ability to bring people together, the fact that these musicians built their own audience in LA over the past ten years, but it is also a profound need I think we’ve all had to celebrate the exquisite, loving that Black American Music is. In a moment populated by dead black men’s bodies, (from Oscar Grant, to Trayvon, to Mike Brown and Eric Garner and on and on every twenty eight hours) we needed to not look away, we needed to remember, we needed somehow to celebrate. This show and this music is that.
This film is a mere eight minutes of this entire experience. I am profoundly honored to have the chance to share it with you here.
Director: B+ for Mochilla
Editor: Luke Lynch for Parallax
Camera: B+, Mike Park, Ava Porter, Laith Majali
Color: Laith Majali
Voice Over: Kamasi Washington
Sound Mix: Daddy Kev
Executive Producers: Kamasi Washington, Banch Abegaze and Adam Stover
Kamasi Washington (Saxophone)
Ryan Porter (Trombone)
Dontae Winslow (Trumpet)
Patrice Quinn (Vocal)
Cameron Graves (Piano)
Brandon Coleman (Keyboards)
Miles Mosley (Upright Bass)
Stephen “Thundercat” Bruner (Electric Bass)
Tony Austin (Drums)
Ronald Bruner (Drums)
Paul Cartwright (Violin)
Tylana Renga (Violin)
Jen Simone (Violin)
Yvette Devereaux (Violin)
Molly Rogers (Viola)
Andrea Witt (Viola) Ginger Murphy (Cello)
Atryom Manukyan (Cello)
Inside the studio that’s shaping Los Angeles’ underground hip-hop scene.
A studio located in Atwater Village and run by veteran engineer Daddy Kev and rapper Nocando, Cosmic Zoo isn’t the first hub this scene has had – Kev’s club night Low End Theory has been doing its thing for close to a decade, helping cultivate the careers of Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer and more – but it plays a crucial role in shaping the sound of the music that comes out of it. In this FACT TV documentary, Gaslamp Killer, D-Styles, Daedelus, Jeff Weiss and many more explain just why it’s so important.
Story by Laurent Fintoni
Produced by Anoushka Seigler
Shot by Eric Coleman
Edited by Laith Majali
Against the Clock is a series where we give an artist 10 minutes in the studio and see what they come up with. You can watch all the past episodes here.
In this episode, we linked up with Mndsgn (pronounced “mind design” – it’s a reference to a Nas lyric, in case you were wondering) in his Los Angeles home studio.
Although he’s settled on the West Coast, and its sleepy sound fits his sleepy keys like a glove, Mndsgn was born in the Philippines, where his parents formed part of the Aum Supreme Truth Cult. The Cult’s ventures into terrorist activity caused them to flee the group in the late 1980s, and after being granted political asylum in the US they settled in rural New Jersey.
Since moving West, Mndsgn has signed to Stones Throw Records, who released his debut album Yawn Zen last year. He’ll be taking his twinkling fingers (check that bird’s eye view!) to London later this month, performing for Soundcrash on May 30.
Shot by Eric Coleman
Edited by Laith Majali
Special thanks to Laurent Fintoni
Los Angeles rap stalwart Giovanni Marks – a.k.a. Subtitle – steps up for the next FACT freestyle.
Emerging during the indie rap boom of the late 1990s, Marks has released a lot of music: as well as 20+ albums and mixtakes as Subtitle, he introduced his Giovanni Marks alias in 2007 with a pair of records, Black Adam and Marks in Angles. He’s also one half of Lab Waste with Adlib, as well as a member of lesser spotted groups like Giants of Science, Westcoast Workforce, The Weekend Science Experiment and more. In short, dude’s busy – so busy in fact, that he produced the beat for this freestyle too.
Directed and Shot by Eric Coleman
Edited by Laith Majali
For FACT TV’s latest Freestyle, Los Angeles rapper Nocando steps up.
Real name Jimmy McCall, Nocando has been making his mark in the LA hip-hop scene since 2004. Gaining notoriety after winning the 2007 Scribble Jam battle championship, he’s a regular host for the city’s famed Low End Theory party, and has worked with producers like Nosaj Thing, Daedelus, Free The Robots and more. His most recent release, Jimmy The Burnout, came out last year.
Great Dane on the beat, and just look at that sky.
Directed and shot by Eric Coleman
Edited by Laith Majali
tracks “Love and Peace” & “Polo Jacket & Dashiki” from
Down To Earth Vol. 2 (The Standard Bap Edition)
Leaving Records 2015
distributed by: Stones Throw
Director: Eric Coleman
Editor: Laith Majali
Cinematographer: Jerry Henry
Mark de Clive-Lowe – piano/rhodes/keyboards/electronics
Miguel Atwood-Ferguson – viola
Ben Shepherd – bass
Jamire Williams – drums
from the Mark de Clive-Lowe album CHURCH out now on Mashibeats/Ropeadope.
CHURCH is out worldwide now (mashibeats/ropeadope):
La Plata is the third and final video from the Magnetica suite. It was shot entirely on the Northwestern Coast of Colombia in the Department of Choco, in the region known as Nuqui. There are no roads to take you to Nuqui, either a 12 hour boat ride or a two and a half hour small plane journey. The population is almost entirely Afro-Colombian and Indigenous (mainly Embera) and once a year there’s a festival. Quantic headlined the festival in 2013 and brought Nidia along and B+ to shoot. What you see here was made over a period of three days between intense heat, long nights of drinking and period of waiting for the solar power to recharge the batteries. Much love and gratitude is due to our new friends in Nuqui.
(All photos: © B+/Mochilla)
In April of this year Cat Jimenez (old friend of Mochilla and amazing photo curator) asked B+ to preview his forthcoming long awaited book for the Society of Publishing Designers. Over three nights he worked with Mike Park to make this short slide show. Using music from our friends Sly 5th Ave., Miguel Atwood Ferguson and Flying Lotus these two and half minutes give you a small glimpse of what should be an important book. Part retrospective, part photo essay Ghostnotes: Photography by Ear, Music by Eye promises to make you look at your music differently and hear your photographs in a new way. Stay tuned.