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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


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.