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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


Igor Stravinsky ‎– Stravinsky Conducts Stravinsky
When I started playing saxophone in the eighth grade, I dove in head first and I really got into music. So I switched schools to Hamilton musical academy for high school and when I got there I had three or four music classes every semester. All of a sudden I was in jazz band, wind ensemble, orchestra… I started meeting these young musicians who wanted to play in orchestras and so they started exposing me to different classical musicians.

My understanding of classical music was very limited. They would tell me to go get certain pieces of music and they wanted me to get certain performances of that music and I was like, "Oh man, what's the difference? It's the same music!" And they were like, "Oh no. There's a huge difference." I remember the first time I heard that record of Stravinsky conducting his own music and it was like, oh wow, this is how this is supposed to go!

Stravinsky's music opened my mind to the possibilities of how powerful the human voice can be. Symphony Of Psalms on that album inspired a lot of what I do with choral parts.