With the release of his new album Stereotype Threat under the bold, fresh artistic identity FKAjazz (formerly known as…), NYC based saxophonist Samir Zarif lays the dynamic groundwork for the possibilities of what jazz is for his generation and provides a vision for what the cherished American art form can be moving forward. With a freewheeling energy driven by the still simmering melting pot of influences that drive his musical passion – traditional jazz, R&B and hip-hop – the full length collection is the culmination of a multi-faceted journey that transcends easy definitions. It’s always evolving with a sense of grooving and improvisational wonder and discovery.
FKAjazz BrandMe 360 Interview Part 3
Zarif’s emergence as FKAjazz and his unique perspective on the distinctly American art form has prompted him to reflect on the meaning of jazz, its development over the last century, and its influence on other styles of music. “Before jazz, there wasn’t such a thing as American music really,” he says. “There was nothing that truly defined our culture as Americans as clear and true to its spirit as jazz. It was the first complete melting pot of music that shaped who we are as people, what we represent and the possibilities unique to our country. Everything else that followed, from rock & roll to hip hop, are the children and grandchildren of jazz music.”
“Likewise,” Zarif adds, “jazz is traditionally an art form rooted in the concept of creating something new on top of the old, of rebirth or reimagining. We saw with John Coltrane’s ‘My Favorite Things’ or Miles Davis’ ‘Someday My Prince Will Come’ a clear understanding of what the jazz tradition is. And we see it today with hip hop’s approach to sampling and remixing. Being a jazz musician for a large portion of my life, then periodically shifting to the EDM and hip-hop scene as a producer and DJ allowed me to see not only how jazz has influenced popular music today, but also how much pop music today has influenced and altered my trajectory as an artist.”
FKAjazz talks to Bert Caldwell with iSpySoul
While providing a powerhouse platform for FKAjazz’s tenor sax, Stereotype Threat is also a showcase for his skills as a composer, producer and mixer. After creating the foundation of the tracks, he pieced together incredible contributions from his high level cohorts in NYC’s jazz scene, including guitarist Marcus Machado, electric bassist Lez Lemon, guitarist Julian Litwack, drummer Justin Swiney and keyboardist Noah MacNeil. Also featured is the high impact rap lyricism of JSWISS on “No Way To Go” and “Storytime Interlude.”
FKAjazz - Stereotype Threat
FKAjazz became a renowned recording and touring saxophonist for many notable artists and bands, including the Grammy Nominated Miguel Zenon's Identities Big Band, The Story, Soulful Symphony, Chrisette Michele and Hans Glawischnig Jahira Trio. He has performed at world-renowned venues, halls and festivals such as Carnegie Hall (NYC), Blue Note (NYC), North Sea Jazz Fest (Rotterdam), Newport Jazz Fest (Newport, RI) , and Bimhuis (Amsterdam).
As his brand as FKAjazz has grown, he has collaborated and performed with many talented artists.
Recently forming his Hybrid Trio, a live music mixtape incorporating his talent as a artist, producer, saxophonist and DJ, he is giving us sounds that are unfamiliar, rhythmic, and addictive! You can see him performing in SOHO House, ACE Hotel and more! Look for him to guest as the house band for live television soon!