• Todd Washington

      Todd Washington

      It starts with fingers, tapping.  You don’t know why, you just do it.  It’s an impulse you have, like an electric charge traveling through your limbs, seeking an outlet.  In the end, it’s all about the flow.  You’re banging beats on school books, on playground equipment, on the windows of the bus.

      By Ryan Roy

      Bap-bubba-bap-bubba-bap-bap-bap.  It was always with you.

      This is how it began for young Todd Washington, growing up in the inner city of Boston.

      “Rhythm was the source of what inspired me,” says Washington, looking back on those early years.

      He graduated from books to pots and pans.  It was all about the flow.  He was drawn to it.  Headphones over his ears, Hendrix album spinning at 78 RPM, his hands would find the beat and play along.  These were the moments that lit the fire.  Listening to blues, to jazz, to reggae, to Motown.  These were the sparks igniting inspiration.  Like the time his uncle ushered him down to that dark, smoky Boston club where legendary jazz drummer Elvin Jones – sideman to titans like Davis, Mingus, and Coltrane – demonstrated the meaning of artistic style with his masterful timing and polyrhythmic percussions.  The mark was made early on: Todd Washington was destined to live a life of music.

      T-Max

      After high school, he sold his prized drum set for a plane ticket Out West.  Nothing was promised, but his talent would find its way.  In Los Angeles, he pursued a career in music through a communications degree at Loyola Marymount.  Meanwhile, he honed his skill on the bass playing in bands throughout college.  He picked up the nickname T-Max, and it stuck, following him as his talent broadened and matured.  In time, he developed an affinity for acoustics to compliment his electrics, and he branched out with solo projects as a singer/songwriter.  But he never forgot his first love.  He never forgot his drums.

      “Drums are my mother,” he says.  “The bass is my wife.”

      “And the guitar?”

      He smiles.  “Guitar is my girlfriend.”

      Perhaps it’s his personality that draws in the audience – easy-going, soulful, with a big heart.  And perhaps that’s why he refers to his music as “heart and soul.”  Because it doesn’t fit into any one style – it’s born of blues and jazz and pop and folk and a dozen other genres – but it’s more than the sum of its influences.  It’s music from the heart.  Music from the soul.

      Todd Washington Trio

      T-Max formed the Todd Washington Trio in the 90’s.  It’s a constantly evolving group whose diverse stylings can vary with each performance.   The Trio has an upcoming gig at the Altadena Library on January 14th at 6:30pm, as part of their popular Second Saturday concert series.  The event promises big fun for all audiences, and who knows – maybe even some inspiration for young, rhythmically-inclined musicians.

      “It always feels great to do what you love,” says Washington.  “And we’re honored to bring some musical diversity and atmosphere to Altadena.”

      That the Trio is playing a loud and festive gig inside of a library is just another illustration of their versatility and range.  But hey, that’s the way life is, right?  Like jazz, you roll with it, and take what comes your way.  Because nothing is ever promised, and in the end, it’s all about the flow.

      Ryan Roy serves as the Public Services Director of The Altadena Libraries. He is also a published author and an award-winning filmmaker.

      Second Saturday” is a popular Altadena Library event that brings Altadena and nearby communities together to relax, enjoy, dance and eat in a joyful environment.


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