Abu Dhabi, 6 February 2024: Abu Dhabi Festival 2024 reached new heights with a spellbinding performance by the visionary saxophonist and bandleader, Kamasi Washington, at the Emirates Palace. Abu Dhabi Festival 2024 continued its tradition of bringing world-class talent to the forefront, and Kamasi Washington's concert was undoubtedly a highlight of this year's festivities.
Accompanied by a stellar ensemble featuring Rickey Washington (flute), Ryan Porter (trombone), Brandon Coleman (keys), Dontae Winslow (trumpet), Tony Austin (drums), Mike Mitchell (drums), Miles Mosley (bass), Queen Shic (vocals), and Cameron Graves (keyboard), Kamasi Washington delivered a performance that defied categorisation.
In line with the festival's tradition of showcasing Emirati artists and talents on the global stage, Hamdan Al Abri, Arqam Al Abri, and the Emirati singer Fafa collaborated in a captivating musical ensemble, contributing their unique playing and singing skills to create a compelling and influential musical fusion.
Known for breaking down musical barriers, Kamasi Washington's avant-garde approach to jazz blends influences from hip-hop, R&B, and classical music, creating a unique and exhilarating sonic experience. The audience at Emirates Palace witnessed a musical journey that was both progressive and improvisatory, showcasing Washington's unparalleled creativity and mastery.
The breathtaking backdrop of the Emirates Palace, coupled with its acoustically rich environment, provided the perfect setting for Kamasi Washington's groundbreaking compositions. The diverse crowd in attendance reflected the universal appeal of his music, drawing music enthusiasts from all walks of life.
Her Excellency Huda Ibrahim Alkhamis, Founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, highlighted the significant role of jazz in the exclusive commissioned works and co-productions presented annually by the Abu Dhabi Festival. She emphasised the genre’s inspiring impact on generations and its wide global audience. She added, “The Abu Dhabi Festival introduces jazz legend Kamasi Washington, who redefines this vibrant music by blending hip-hop rhythms and classics in a unique Arab premiere. This underscores our commitment to enriching the cultural landscape of our capital and celebrating values of peace, coexistence, and the triumph of life and hope through arts and music.”
The Kamasi Washington performance, brought to you by Mubadala, the lead partner of Abu Dhabi Festival, has left an indelible mark on the global music scene, attracting audiences of all ages and backgrounds at prestigious festivals worldwide, from Glastonbury and Coachella to Fuji Rock and Primavera. Abu Dhabi Festival 2024 was honoured to host this musical luminary, and the performance at Emirates Palace will be remembered as a pivotal moment in the festival's history.
As the Abu Dhabi Festival 2024 continues its celebration of arts and culture, the electrifying performance by Kamasi Washington serves as a testament to the festival's commitment to pushing artistic boundaries and offering diverse and enriching experiences to its audience.