Heaven and Earth

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Kamasi Washington & Simon Rich

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Show: 
Bullseye
Guests: 
Kamasi Washington
Guests: 
Simon Rich

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Photo: Jesse Thorn

Kamasi Washington on Street Fighter II, South Los Angeles, and Touring with Snoop Dogg

Saxophonist Kamasi Washington is one of the most talented jazz musicians around. He's collaborated with Thundercat, Ryan Adams, Flying Lotus, Run the Jewels - that's just naming a handful. On Kendrick Lamar's classic "To Pimp A Butterfly," you can hear his saxophone and arranging work, too.

To define Kamasi Washington by the people he's collaborated with, however, would be doing him a disservice. He's recorded about half a dozen solo records. He's a dynamic, thrilling composer and bandleader.

If you love the work of Alice Coltrane or Pharoah Sanders, you'll hear something familiar in Kamasi's music. Like them, Kamasi writes songs from a transcendent, spiritual place. It's strange and lush. There's usually a melody that hypnotizes you. The songs run long, but just like the free jazz greats, you'll lose yourself in them.

Kamasi was born in the 80s, raised in Los Angeles, and he grew up listening to jazz classics, but also N.W.A., Marvin Gaye, and Snoop. The music he makes is eclectic. It's why his albums have ended up on so many critics' top 10 lists, and it's also why those same critics often ask whether Kamasi Washington is the one to make jazz a young person's game again.

His latest album Heaven and Earth is out now, and he's also touring North America.


Photo:Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Simon Rich Reads from His Latest Book: Hits and Misses

Simon Rich is one of Jesse's favorite comedy writers. He started young: first as editor of the Harvard Lampoon, then, at just 23, Simon was hired as a writer on SNL. He's also written for Pixar, The New Yorker, and is the author of seven books. He created the FXX TV series Man Seeking Woman and just had another pilot picked up by ABC.

Simon hasn't even turned 35 yet.

Earlier this year he wrote a book called Hits & Misses. It's a collection of short stories - some of his funniest work to date. This week, he reads us a story called "New Client."

Click here to listen to Simon Rich read from his latest book on YouTube.

Pop Rocket Episode 125: Memorial Day Special with Dave White

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Guy Braum
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Dave White

On a special mini episode, the gang is joined by movie critic Dave White to talk about films that memorialize war, soldiers, and veterans. We get history lesson from Karen about the origins of Memorial Day, and how it spread across America eventually becoming a national holiday. The gang talk about the huge responsibility war films have, in both their messaging and cinematography, and how some miss the mark. Wynter tells us why she doesn't watch war movies, and the panel talks about the one war comedy that was able to pull it off (just barely). And in lieu of all abouts and jams, Dave tells us about a four hour black and white art house film that we must not miss (he promises that it is very watchable).

You can catch Dave on his podcast Linoleum Knife and read his film review on The Wrap.

With Guy Branum, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, and Dave White.

Each week we’ll add everyone’s jams to this handy Spotify playlist.

You can let us know what you think of Pop Rocket and suggest topics in our Facebook group or via @PopRocket on Twitter.

Other Links:
Beau Travail
Gallipoli
Heaven & Earth
Ran
Lawrence of Arabia

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org.

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