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Baker's Dozen

Thirteen Prayers: Kamasi Washington's Favourite Albums
Paul Smith , May 18th, 2016 11:43

Before he embarks on a summer of touring following his excellent 2015 album The Epic, the saxophonist and bandleader makes some difficult decisions to give Paul Smith 13 albums that affected his musical approach

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Billie Holiday ‎– Lady Sings The Blues
A lot of my phrasing and the way I play melodies comes from singers. Billie Holiday is my favourite. She tells a story in the way she sings a song. Those little subtle breaks and scoops. She's such a master of phrasing and that subtlety made me want to be able to do that with the saxophone.

That's something I also learned from playing with Snoop Dogg. I grew up listening to Snoop and when I started playing with him, it gave me a completely different way of thinking about music. It's all about timing and phrasing and real intuition.

Billie sings so many great songs on this record. I have a lot of favourite Billie Holiday albums but this one is probably her strongest effort. It's got 'Strange Fruit'. A lot of the songs on here are just classics.


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