105 – Tony Austin: Playing with Kamasi Washington, The West Coast Get Down, Redefining West Coast Jazz
Tony Austin was born and raised in Los Angeles. He is one of two drummers (the other being Ronald Bruner Jr.) who are part of The West Coast Get Down, a collective of LA musicians making their mark on the modern jazz scene. The collective’s flagship is saxophonist Kamasi Washington’s recent release, “The Epic,” a three disc set of compositions involving dozens of musicians and ranging from free jazz to soul to electronica, on which Tony played multiple roles as drummer, engineer and producer.
As a kid, Tony was part of the Big Brothers program and was mentored by Roger Linn, a pioneer inventor of electronic musical instruments including the MPC60 drum machine. He credits Roger with nurturing his interest in music and re e maintains that relationship to this day.
In this episode, Tony talks about:
Growing up in North Hollywood and learning about music, electronics, and recording from Roger Linn
The origins and mission of The West Coast Get Down
The unique, “co-op” approach to recording Kamasi Washington’s “The Epic”
Playing double drums with Ronald Bruner Jr.
His friendship, musical partnership, and current duo project with bassist Miles Mosley
Carving out creative and profitable projects for yourself, not just being at the mercy of the sideman hustle
The experiences he had as a kid under the mentorship or Roger Linn
Tour managing and playing with groups that performed on military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This episode is sponsored by Sonor.