Kamasi Washington was born in Los Angeles, California, on February 2, 1981 to musical parents and educators, and was raised in Inglewood, California. He is a graduate of the Academy of Music of Alexander Hamilton High School in Beverlywood, Los Angeles. Washington next enrolled in UCLA's Department of Ethnomusicology, where he began playing with faculty members such as Kenny Burrell, Billy Higgins and band leader/trumpeter Gerald Wilson. Washington features in the album Young Jazz Giants in 2004. He has played along with a diverse group of musicians including Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Horace Tapscott, Gerald Wilson, Lauryn Hill, Nas, Snoop Dogg, George Duke, Chaka Khan, Flying Lotus, Thundercat, Mike Muir, Francisco Aguabella, the Pan Afrikaan People's Orchestra and Raphael Saadiq.
Washington ventured into big band music when he joined the Gerald Wilson Orchestra for their 2006 album In My Time. Washington played saxophone on Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly. His debut solo recording, The Epic, was released in May 2015 to critical acclaim, soon followed by the extended EP Harmony of Difference in late 2017. "Heaven and Earth" stands to be his full-length follow-up (double LP).
“The world that my mind lives in, lives in my mind.” This idea inspired me to make this album. The “Earth” side represents the world as I see it outwardly, the world that I am a part of. The “Heaven” side represents the world as I see it inwardly, the world that is a part of me. I put my heart and soul into this album and I can't wait for you all to hear it!!!" - Kamasi Washington