Born in Alton, Illinois (Miles Davis' home town), Kash was
raised listening to jazz-his brother was a jazz trumpeter-in
the very fertile music scene in and around East St. Louis,
Illinois. Drawn first to clarinet, then voice, flute, electric
guitar and electric bass, Kash started performing professionally
at age ten.
Through high school he was working in doo-wop, funk, soul,
rock and church groups. In 1974, he entered college and
started studying classical contrabass. Soon he was also
studying violin and cello. Moving to L.A. City College in
1976, piano giant Horace Tapscott became his mentor and
Kash played bass in Tapscott's Ark Orchestra; drummer Billy
Higgins was part of that scene, too. This rekindled his
interest in straight ahead jazz. On the straight ahead jazz
front, Kash has played with great players like Donald Byrd,
George Cables, Billy Higgins, Bobby Hutcherson, James Newton,
and Billy Bang.
Kash studied music at the University of Southern California
and earned a degree in Jazz Composition and Performance
at Antioch University. He studied the classical contra bass
with David Young of the Texas Symphony, and Emile Jorso
of the Oakland Symphony, as well as cello with Marilyn Blanc
of the Oakland Symphony. Mr. Killion was the "artist
in residence" at the San Francisco Exploratorium where
he composed and conducted a creative chamber piece performed
by San Francisco based musicians, and has taught violin
and cello in the San Francisco and Oakland elementary schools
and has lectured North Carolina Central University and Duke
University on the history of string instruments the evolution
of jazz based music. He also provides private instruction
in music theory and instrument technique on the cello and
contrabass. Kash has performed at the Herbst Theater and
Masonic Auditorium in San Francisco, the Lincoln Center
and Weill Recital Hall (Carnegie Hall) in New York, as well
as several jazz festivals in the U.S., Asia, and Europe.
Kash's interest in avant garde jazz was ignited by Sun Ra
in 1978-and further heightened by meeting and playing with
Pharoah Sanders. In L.A. Kash was playing bass as his primary
instrument, but getting more and more interested in cello.
When he moved to the Bay Area in 1984, he switched almost
entirely to cello, mainly because of the freedom to use
it in roles as diverse as a horn or a guitar or a bass.
In the Bay Area he started playing and touring with a number
of avant-garde jazz groups, notably one with Paul Murphy,
Glen Spearman and India Cook. That was the beginning of
his long musical association with Paul Murphy. Kash has
played extensively in avant garde circles with such icons
as Cecil Taylor, John Zorn, Julius Hemphill, Reggie Workman,
Sun Ra, Butch Morris and George Lewis. More recently, he
has recorded and performed with improvisational musicians
Joel Futterman and Ike Levin.
Kash also has a deep interest in world music. He studied
with the great Indian musician, Ali Akbar Khan, and has
toured and recorded with his orchestra. He has recorded
Afro-Cuban music with several salsa groups. He composes
and performs for both dance troupes and poets. Major poets
he has accompanied including Amiri Baraka, Alice Walker,
Quincy Troupe, Shirley Le Flore and Jessica Hagdorm.