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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 121: Kendrick! Lorde! Gaga! The 2017 Music Special with Gerrick Kennedy

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Show: 
Pop Rocket
Guests: 
Margaret Wappler
Guests: 
Wynter Mitchell
Guests: 
Karen Tongson
Guests: 
Gerrick Kennedy

This week, the gang (minus Guy) is joined by Gerrick Kennedy, music writer at the Los Angeles Times, to discuss the best album releases of 2017. For the first time in 33 years, there are no women in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100's chart. The gang discusses whether they think this is a fluke or a trend, how they think streaming services affect the numbers, and what this means for women musicians of color. They discuss the importance of the new Kendrick Lamar album Damn. and about early contestants for "The Song of the Summer" title. They talk about whether they think Ed Sheeran is creepy and why Harry Styles is a #HeForShe hero. Then, in lieu of jams and because Coachella just kicked off the start to the music festival season, the panel tells us about their dream music festivals-where they would be, who would be playing, and how much they would cost. All of this, plus each panelist tells us what they're all about.

Margaret Wappler, Karen Tongson, Wynter Mitchell, and Gerrick Kennedy

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:
Phil Elverum Pitchfork Piece by Jayson Greene
Here Lies Love
Ed Sheeran's Rolling Stone cover story
No Women in Hot 100's top 10 For The First Time in 33 years

Produced by Christian Dueñas and Kara Hart for MaximumFun.org

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