Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Diana Krall Announces Third Leg Of Turn Up The Quiet North American Tour Dates

Multiple GRAMMY® Award-winning jazz pianist and world-renowned singer, Diana Krall will return to North America in January for the third US leg of her "Turn Up The Quiet World Tour."  The tour kicks off on January 30th in Clearwater, FL at the Ruth Eckerd Hall and will visit major venues and cities including the Walt Disney Theater in Orlando, FL, 2 nights at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville (where Diana and her band will be accompanied by the Nashville Symphony), as well as The Symphony Hall in Atlanta, GA before concluding at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY on February 24th.  For a complete list of dates and for local on-sale information, please visit www.dianakrall.com

Krall recently wrapped the second leg of her North American tour with two incredible nights at The Hollywood Bowl in August, along with a stellar performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Click here to watch: http://abc.tv/2xTLMai.

"Turn Up The Quiet World Tour" features material from Krall's stunning new album Turn Up The Quiet out now on Verve Records as well as a mix of some of Diana fans' favorites. Earning critical praise, MOJO Magazine called the new album "spectacular" and said Krall was "on top form."  People Magazine said, "Diana Krall's new music will have fans falling for her all over again." 

Diana Krall is the only jazz singer to have eight albums debut at the top of the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. To date, her albums have garnered five Grammy® Awards, eight Juno® Awards and have also earned nine gold, three platinum and seven multi-platinum albums. Krall's unique artistry transcends any single musical style and has made her one of the most recognizable artists of our time.

Diana Krall - World Tour 2017-2018  Dates

01/30/2018 / Clearwater, FL /Ruth Eckerd Hall
01/31/2018 / Fort Myers, FL / Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
02/1/2018 / Fort Lauderdale, FL / Broward Center for the Performing Arts
02/3/2018 / Orlando, FL /  Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts
02/5/2018 / Melbourne, FL / King Center for the Performing Arts
02/6/2018 / Sarasota, FL / Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
02/7/2018 / Jacksonville, FL / The Florida Theatre
02/9/2018 / Atlanta, GA / Atlanta Symphony Hall
02/10/2018 / Charleston, SC / Charleston Gaillard Center
02/11/2018 / Asheville, NC / Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
02/13/2018 / Nashville, TN / Schermerhorn Symphony Center
02/14/2018 / Nashville, TN / Schermerhorn Symphony Center
02/16/2018 / Augusta, GA / Miller Theater
02/17/2018 / Durham, NC / Durham Performing Arts Center
02/18/2018 / Charlotte, NC / Belk Theater at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
02/20/2018 / Richmond, VA / Carpenter Theatre at Dominion Arts Center
02/21/2018 / Newport News, VA / Ferguson Center for the Arts
02/23/2018 / Brookville, NY / Tilles Center for the Performing Arts
02/24/2018 / Port Chester, NY / The Capitol Theatre



A new collection of deeply moving, melodic music from one of the world’s best selling jazz and world music guitarists, Canadian-born, Johannes Linstead. Inspired by the color of the tropics and exotic travels to warm climates, AZUL, is infused with glorious tropical vibes and spirited Caribbean rhythms. Recorded in his home away from home, the Dominican Republic, the album’s title (“blue” in English) comes from his musing about the sky’s reflection on the ocean. In addition to blending festive, high energy rock influences with Santana-esque graceful ballads, Linstead sets himself apart from other guitarist/composers with his artful, emotionally compelling interplay of electric and acoustic guitar melodies and harmonies on many of the songs. For the first time in his nearly 20 year recording career, he offers up vocals effortlessly in both Spanish and English. Slip away... into the Azul and find your home away from home. ~ smoothjazz.com


Canadian composer, bassist and producer Brendan Rothwell cites Marcus Miller’s work on Miles Davis’ classic recording TUTU as the reason he chose his lead instrument. On his debut album TIME ON MY HANDS, he emphatically bucks the trend of the bass being in the background. Optimizing the tone, scale, feeling and musicality of the instrument, he showcases its ability to stir melodic excitement while creating deep, hypnotic rhythms. While his soulful, funky fluidity often brings to mind the coolness of the late Wayman Tisdale, there’s also an atmospheric, trippy and mystical exploratory vibe influenced by Miller’s slow simmering fusion style. Fans of Stanley Clarke and Brian Bromberg will be fully engaged as well. You’ll enjoy keeping time with Time On My Hands! ~ smoothjazz.com


Veteran Brazilian born, New York based guitarist, composer and producer Sandro Albert teams up with his fellow countryman, renowned artist and master lyricist Manu Lafer to create Run N’ Fly – an outstanding, Steely Dan-esque musical collective featuring top New York session musicians and singers, as well as legendary Jazz/R&B drummer Omar Hakim. Combining Albert’s infectious, relentlessly grooving old school R&B/Funk and contemporary urban jazz vibes with Lafer’s fertile imagination and whimsical storytelling, Run N’ Fly creates a quirky yet powerful homage to some of our greatest and most beautiful female icons, and some obscure ones for good measure, starting with the irrepressible first single “Daughter of Cain,” inspired affectionately by Israeli actress Yuval Scharf. ~ smoothjazz.com

Vocalist Hilary Gardner + Pianist Ehud Asherie Present The Late Set on Anzic Records

Acclaimed vocalist Hilary Gardner and pianist Ehud Asherie present The Late Set, due out October 27, 2017 on Anzic Records. On The Late Set we find Gardner's graceful vocals in harmonious and rhythmic accord with the lush urbanity of Asherie's pianism. The duo holds the listener in rapt attention with their elegant interpretations, illuminating the subtleties and beauty of songs both familiar and obscure by some of the Great American Songbook's finest composers.

The Late Set is a follow-up to Gardner's debut album, The Great City (also an Anzic Records release), which closes with Gardner and Asherie's playful, painterly piano/vocal rendition of Nellie McKay's "Manhattan Avenue," a 21st-century neo-standard. The Late Set picks up that musical thread and travels back in time, as long ago as 1918's "After You've Gone" (the most recent song on the album, "Make Someone Happy," was written in 1960). Most of the album is devoted to seldom-performed songs with important commonalities: evocative lyrics, rich harmonic possibilities, and that most abstract of qualities, a vibe. 

Gardner and Asherie first began making music together about ten years ago, when Gardner was finishing her classical voice degree at Brooklyn College. "A mutual friend knew I needed an accompanist for my upcoming senior recital and he introduced us. The first music Ehud and I ever played together was a recital of European art songs. From our first rehearsal, it became clear that Ehud and I shared a musical simpatico. We'd rehearse the classical songs, then just play standards together for hours." Gardner continues, "Ehud and I believe that standards are our modern-day art songs, written by some of America's greatest composers and lyricists."

Gardner and Asherie evoke a bygone era of music making with their repertoire choices as well as their approach to the recording process. On December 10, 2016, the duo was joined by Grammy-winning producer Eli Wolf (Norah Jones, Bill Charlap) at Systems Two Recording Studios in Brooklyn, where they recorded the album in one session. In the spirit of classic mid-century "after-hours" jazz recordings, The Late Set eschews intricate arrangements, odd meters, and modern re-harmonizations in favor of straightforward, affecting musicianship, rendered with care and joie de vivre.

"Ehud and I are friends and musicians who happen to love these songs and want to share them as they are," Gardner explains. "We're not trying to be hip or re-invent the songs on The Late Set. We want to simply present these songs earnestly and lovingly, staying faithful to the melody and lyrics, playing within-not around, or in spite of-the structure. No matter how many times we perform them, these songs continue to reveal themselves to us in new ways."

Asherie muses, "The intimacy and sparseness of the piano/vocal format gives us a lot of freedom. Each song is its own little universe, with endless interpretive possibilities."

The duo consider The Late Set to be both a culmination of the partnership they forged a decade ago as well as a new beginning: they're continually adding to their repertoire and look forward to exploring and celebrating the timeless music of the Great American Songbook together for years to come.
Hilary Gardner has been named an "an artist to watch" and a Rising Star Female Vocalist by DownBeat Magazine. In 2010 she was the live, onstage vocalist in Twyla Tharp's Broadway homage to Frank Sinatra, Come Fly Away. Hilary is a founding member of DUCHESS, a close-harmony vocal trio with two critically lauded albums to their credit. In addition to performing at festivals throughout the United States, Canada, and Israel, the trio has enjoyed sold-out performances at New York City's Jazz at Lincoln Center, Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola, and the Rubin Museum. Hilary was Jeff Goldblum's special guest on the opening night of his run at the legendary Café Carlyle, prompting New York Magazine to call hers "a voice worth seeking out." She has also appeared on NPR as Michael Feinstein's guest on Song Travels with Michael Feinstein and Judy Carmichael's Jazz Inspired on SiriusXM. Her sophisticated, swinging brilliance is showcased on her critically acclaimed recording debut, The Great City, and now, The Late Set.

Ehud Asherie, "a master of swing and stride" (The New Yorker), is a jazz pianist who integrates the venerable New York piano tradition into his inventive style. Largely self-taught, or rather, "old-schooled," Asherie learned the ropes at Smalls, spending the wee small hours of his early teens becoming a fixture of the late-night jam sessions. From Smalls to the Rainbow Room, from Lincoln Center to The Village Vanguard, Ehud has since worked with a broad range of musicians including: Eric Alexander, Roy Ayers, Peter Bernstein, Jesse Davis, Bobby Durham, Vince Giordano, Wycliffe Gordon, Scott Hamilton, Catherine Russell, Ken Peplowski, and Clark Terry. Ehud's playing can be heard on countless recordings, including the 2010 Grammy Award-winning soundtrack of HBO's Boardwalk Empire. He recently released his twelfth album as a leader, entitled Shuffle Along (Blue Heron Records), a solo piano performance of Eubie Blake songs from the musical Shuffle Along.

Selina Albright’s successful “Conversations” makes Christmas Tour with Koz “Possible”

Multi-format radio play, favorable reviews and a busy concert calendar boost the R&B-jazz singer’s debut album.

It is mid-September yet R&B-jazz singer Selina Albright has already booked her holiday season travel plans thanks in part to a pair of buzzworthy singles at multiple radio formats along with enthusiastic reviews for her debut album, “Conversations,” which was issued on the Golden Rays Music label. Albright was invited to embark upon a 24-city U.S. concert tour as the featured vocalist on the Dave Koz 20th Anniversary Christmas Tour during which the smooth soul singer will share the spotlight with the charismatic saxophonist and his fellow contemporary jazz luminaries David Benoit, Rick Braun and Peter White. The tour kicks off November 24 in Atlanta and wraps December 23 in Cerritos, California.  

Even before “Conversations” dropped, Albright, who co-produced three songs and wrote the album’s candid and confessional lyrics that she describes as “like my own therapeutic diary,” captured attention and charted at smooth jazz outlets globally with the lead single, “Eat Something,” an empowering mid-tempo R&B ode to self-love that celebrates comfort and security in a romantic relationship by packing on a few pounds. The song, bolstered by slick guitar licks from Kay-Ta Matsuno, immediately connects with listeners – especially women – who called radio stations to request the cut that premiered nationally on SiriusXM Watercolors’ Dave Koz Lounge. “Eat Something” has now crossed over to urban adult contemporary (UAC) radio - including at SiriusXM’s UAC programming – and is gobbling up airplay. 

While the first single continues its chart ascent at UAC radio, smooth jazz programmers have embraced the follow-up, “Possible,” another affirmation of self-acceptance. Albright explains, “I wrote ‘Possible’ with hope of finding that one person who would make me feel loved and accepted just as I am. Now that I’m married to that person, I've found that it’s equally important - if not most important - to accept myself. That’s when the light bulb truly came on for me! My heart and mind opened to new possibilities, and I was able to experience the freedom and fearlessness I was put on this earth to achieve. I believe we all have to peel our own layers of doubt away and be true to ourselves in order to live our lives to the fullest. This is why the (accompanying) music is minimal for much of the song. I needed the focus to be on the message so that listeners could celebrate - not suppress - their zest for life.”

The daughter of multiple Grammy nominee and contemporary jazz sax titan Gerald Albright, Selina grew up in the company of her father’s colleagues, but has relied on the power and grace of her vocal gifts to pave her own way. For more than a decade, she has toured and recorded with a wide array of notables in jazz, R&B and EDM. In recent years, she’s been featured on Benoit’s A Charlie Brown Christmas Tour and is fond of touring during the holiday season.

"I really love touring during Christmas because I see nothing but smiles from the stage. It's as if barriers can finally come down for the season, and we can all relax and focus on what's important: friends, family, love and music!” said the radiant and shapely Albright, who continues her Conversations Tour until the Christmas tour commences. "Dave Koz, Peter White, Rick Braun and David Benoit have been part of my adoptive musical family for years. So for me, the Koz Christmas Tour will be a special reunion when we can celebrate each other's talents while on stage together. This is one tour that I know the people will feel the joy and love in the music! And, of course, music aside, the food enthusiast in me cannot wait to enjoy the local cuisine in each city we visit."

“Conversations” was produced by Chris “Big Dog” Davis, James “JRob” Roberson and Albright, and contains performances by Gerald Albright, White, Matsuno, Randy Ellis and David P. Stevens. Below are excerpts from a sampling of album reviews:    

“One of the brightest new stars in that crossover galaxy somewhere between contemporary jazz and R&B.” – Smooth Jazz Therapy

“Selina blossoms fully as a transcendently soulful, urban jazz/R&B singer-songwriter.” – SmoothJazz.com

“Albright brings her brand of fiery, soul-reaching music right to where you live, keeping you riveted to her charm. This is her debut album, but those of us who’ve witnessed her live knew what to expect when she finally unleashed this beauty.” – The Smooth Jazz Ride

“Albright channels her R&B side that shares her heart on both sleeves. Backed by production from James Roberson and Chris ‘Big Dog’ Davis, Albright’s flexible pipes and songwriting unquestionably steals the spotlight.” – The Urban Music Scene

“Selina delivers her own therapeutic diary, in a soft soul and sultry jazz setting.”- Keys & Chords

“Selina pushes the envelope in R and B with a stylish nod to jazz with a really identifiable vocal sound.” – The Hollywood Times

For more information, including a complete concert itinerary, please visit www.SelinaAlbright.com.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Columbia Records To Release Johnny Mathis Sings The Great New American Songbook

Columbia Records has announced legendary vocalist Johnny Mathis will release his new album, Johnny Mathis Sings The Great New American Songbook on September 29. The eagerly awaited album features 11 inspired Mathis interpretations of prevailing current songs that comprise the modern great American songbook, all imbued with the iconic vocalist's indelible touch. 

Produced by Grammy winning music greats Kenneth 'Babyface' Edmonds and Clive Davis, Johnny Mathis Sings The Great New American Songbook features a matchless array of modern day 'standards' christened by Mathis' intuitive delivery, (full track listing below). Among the songs included are "Hello," originally recorded by Adele, "Happy," originally recorded by Pharrell, the aforementioned "Hallelujah," originally recorded by Leonard Cohen, "You Raise Me Up," originally recorded by Josh Groban, "I Believe I Can Fly," originally recorded by R. Kelly, "Just The Way You Are," originally recorded by Bruno Mars, and "Run To You," (featuring Kenny G) originally recorded by Whitney Houston.

One of the seminal voices of popular music, Johnny Mathis has attained unparalleled achievement as a recording artist and live performer in an incredible career that has spanned more than six decades. Universally recognized for his inimitable artistry and signature renderings of the American song catalogue, his vast stylistic range has encompassed romantic interpretations of jazz and pop standards, music composed for stage and film, contemporary pop hits, and holiday music both sacred and secular, enduring as one of the most acclaimed traditional pop vocalists in music history.

Johnny Mathis Sings The Great New American Songbook Tracklisting:

Once Before I Go
Blue Ain't Your Color
You Raise Me Up
Say Something
Just The Way You Are
I Believe I Can Fly
Remember When
Run To You (feat. Kenny G)

Friday, September 15, 2017



Aretha Franklin With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra pairs classic vocals from some of the most iconic songs that the Queen of Soul recorded for Atlantic Records with new arrangements performed by The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. A Brand New Me features Franklin’s instantly recognizable voice woven together with new orchestral arrangements. The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra recorded the music at Abbey Road Studios in London, with brand new backing vocals led by Grammy®-winning singer Patti Austin. The result is another timeless record that retains the soul, groove, and gospel power of Franklin’s revered talent. Among the standout tracks are newly re-imagined versions of classics like the Billboard #1 R&B hits “Respect,” “Think,” “Don’t Play That Song (You Lied),” and “Angel.”


Growing up in Washington, D.C., Lattimore was raised on gospel music and such R&B/pop icons as Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye, Donny Hathaway and Stevie Wonder. A true singer's singer whose impressive range is influenced by everything from jazz to funk to gospel to soul, Lattimore's classic crooning is never overwrought with excessive runs; but instead consistently delivers just the right dose of authentic emotion he has come to be known for after more than two decades of making hits like Grammy-nominated single, "For You." Lattimore's body of work include his first top 40 hit, "Never Too Busy," critically acclaimed sophomore album From the Soul of a Man and two top-10 charting duet albums with singer Chanté Moore: Things That Lovers Do and the gospel/R&B double-CD Uncovered/Covered followed by Lattimore's solo covers album, Timeless in 2008 and Anatomy of a Love Song in 2015. In 2016, Lattimore released "A Kenny Lattimore Christmas," an 11-song holiday project that garnered a #3 position on the Billboard Gospel Albums Chart. Lattimore is set to release his 9th studio album, Vulnerable, a carefully curated collection of 10 songs that embody Lattimore's unique ability to create music that is infinitely relatable and consistently captures what it means to be in love. The album's first single, PUSH delivers a retro-R&B sound and showcases an edgier side to the silky singer as his emotive delivery paints a picture of a man who realizes he has made a mistake by pushing away the love of his life; once again laying bare the inner workings of a man's mind and hearts of women for listeners. The R&B mainstay has a collection of Soul Train and Stellar Awards nominations as well as an NAACP Image Award for Best New Artist.


Musiq’s no nonsense conversational songwriting style and buttery vocals earned him a recording contract as he took on an illuminating, life-changing last name. Musiq Soulchild was born. Everything down to his meticulous throwback soul man image (his trademark apple jack cap and designer shades) screamed SUPERSTAR. Soon Musiq’s name was being mentioned alongside modern day R&B royalty like Erykah Badu, R. Kelly, Usher, D’Angelo, Maxwell, and Jill Scott. But he wanted more. “Truthfully, the success I had out the gate was different than how people now make it out to be,” Musiq recalls. “I didn’t have a chance to revel in that amazing moment of having my first two albums go platinum. I was dealing with political issues, writers, producers, and managers. The labels were trying to get me to be something that I didn’t want to be. I’m from the streets, so I wasn’t use to people telling me what to do [laughs]. It turned into, ‘Well, if you want this check you might want to compromise.’ But even with that negative experience, I got to do what I love, which is inspire people.” Musiq Soulchild’s Grammy nominated Life on Earth in 2016 represented an intriguing chapter in the striking career of an artist who continues to search for new muses; new sounds. With “Feel The Real” the future is now.



The title of saxophonist Jarez’s debut To The Top, proved prophetic a few years later when he became a Smooth Jazz chart sensation with his mix of sensuality and soulful funk-fire. The innovative artist, who cut his musical teeth for years recording, touring and handling business affairs for rap great Coolio, takes his super blend of urban jazz and hip-hop to the next level with Blow Your Mind. The mix of high-energy dance floor jams and late night romances (one featuring the lush vocals of Selina Albright) showcases his sonic mastery as he fuses contemporary jazz and adventurous electronica textures. The title Blow Your Mind tells you everything that’s gonna to happen when you hit play on his best album to date! ~ smoothjazz.com


The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis and special guests take you through 100 hundred years of jazz piano on Handful of Keys. Star pianists Joey Alexander, Dick Hyman, Myra Melford, Helen Sung, Isaiah J. Thompson, and the JLCO's own Dan Nimmer grab hold of all 88 keys and reveal the full extent of the piano's evolution over the 20th century. Recorded on opening night of the 2016-17 Jazz at Lincoln Center season, Handful of Keys showcases a band in full stride, burning through electric arrangements of beloved compositions from James P. Johnson, Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner, and more. With guests ranging in age from 13-year-old prodigy Alexander (recently featured on '60 Minutes') to 89-year-old American treasure Hyman, Wynton Marsalis and the JLCO survey jazz piano's past and give the stage to several prodigies who are taking the instrument in bold new directions.


With an interesting blend of jazz, soul and pop, Tokyo-based singer/songwriter Emi Meyer has carved out a wide-ranging career in Japan with her songs featured in TV, movies and advertising, and her performances ranging from small jazz clubs to major stages throughout Asia. For her debut U. S. recording, Meyer combines music from a set recorded in Paris with Belgian pianist Eric Legnini's French quartet, and new originals recorded in Seattle and featuring guitarist Dan Balmer & pianist Dawn Clement. From her own compositions to classics like 'I'd Rather Go Blind' from Etta James' songbook, Michael Buble's 'Home,' or 'What A Wonderful World,' Emi's intimate readings project poignancy and grace, tying them all together in an engaging package.

John McLaughlin And The 4th Dimension: Live At Ronnie Scott's

Ronnie Scott's, mused the boundary-shattering guitarist John McLaughlin, '. where would I be without them?' The venerable London jazz club and its charismatic namesake gave so much to McLaughlin's career, the roots of which extend as far back as McLaughlin's stint as a member of the club's house band in the 1960s. Since then, his pioneering spirit, instrumental virtuosity, and improvisational fearlessness have taken him around the world, put him on stage alongside fellow giants such as Miles Davis and Tony Williams, and has given listeners a series of compelling, revolutionary recordings that have redefined improvised music for generations to come. 

On September 15, Abstract Logix issues Live @ Ronnie Scott's - a souvenir of a sold-out, two-night stand at the beloved venue by John McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension, recorded in March of 2017. In the 4th Dimension - Ranjit Barot (drums, konokol), Gary Husband (keyboards, drums), and Etienne M'Bapp (bass) - McLaughlin has gathered a band with the technical dexterity and soulful musicality to do ample justice to his vast catalog. They can follow him anywhere, and together on Live @ Ronnie Scott's McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension explore everything from early Mahavishnu Orchestra classics to compositions from their most recent studio LP, Black Light. Most striking about Live @ Ronnie Scott's is the restraint and fluidity on display: 

So connected are the band's four members that the interplay approaches telepathic levels, making for powerfully evocative performances without any wasted gestures. Longtime fans will be thrilled to hear favorites like 'Vital Transformation' (from Mahavishnu's 1971 Inner Mounting Flame album) and 'Miles Beyond' (from 1973's Birds of Fire) reexamined through the lens of the 4th Dimension's unparalleled sensitivity and facility. Hearing such standards alongside recent compositions like 'El Hombre Que Sabia' and the moving 'Gaza City' serves to demonstrate the breadth and scope of McLaughlin's vision, honed over a career now spanning fifty years. 

The September release of Live @ Ronnie Scott's will be followed by the Meeting of the Spirits Tour - a series of November and December shows undertaken in collaboration with one of McLaughlin's favorite musicians, American guitarist Jimmy Herring. Separate sets by Jimmy Herring and the Invisible Whip and McLaughlin and the 4th Dimension will be followed by the two joining forces for an expansive closing jam based on classic Mahavishnu Orchestra material. These special concerts will also mark McLaughlin's final shows in America. As such, Live @ Ronnie Scott's offers a tantalizing preview of the Meeting of the Spirits Tour. 'The intimacy of Ronnie's brought out some startling playing,' wrote London Jazz News immediately following the shows. 'There was no mistaking McLaughlin's enthusiasm for revisiting these landmark compositions, reconfirming and even rediscovering their quality and longevity. 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Adi Braun, one of Canada’s leading jazz vocalists set to release Moderne Frau

Adi Braun, one of Canada’s leading jazz vocalists, today announced that she will launch her recording, Moderne Frau, inspired by the music of 1920s Weimar, Berlin, on October 22, 2017 at 7:30 p.m., at Temerty Theatre, Royal Conservatory of Music, 273 Bloor Street West.

Moderne Frau presents 13 tracks, including three original songs composed by Braun and songs by leading German composers: Kurt Weill, Franz Grothe and Mischa Spoliansky. Musicians featured on the recording are: Tom King, piano; Pat Collins, bass; Daniel Barnes, drums/percussion; Tony Quarrington, guitar/banjo; Joseph Macerollo, accordion; Juan Gabriel Olivarez, clarinet; Brad Eaton, trumpet, Conrad Gluch, tenor saxophone, and Zack Smith, trombone.  

In her live performance, in support of Moderne Frau, Braun pays tribute to the women of Weimar Berlin, during the latter part of the interwar period between German’s defeat in World War I in 1918 and Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, when arts and sciences flourished in the Weimar Republic. It was fertile ground for intellectuals, artists, and innovators from many fields. The social environment was chaotic, politics were passionate, and the cabaret scene was decadent. Women had a strong presence in the cabaret scene, performing songs of protest, prostitution, and everyday life, in the clubs. Even the sensational American entertainer and activist Josephine Baker who devoted much of her life to fighting racism – to whom Braun pays tribute in her song Josephine – made frequent visits to perform at cabaret clubs in Berlin during this period.  

Adi Braun is an accomplished artist in cabaret, concert and theatre, performing in every major jazz and concert venue in Toronto and having toured Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Among her four recordings to date, she was short-listed for a 2004 Juno nomination for her recording Delishious and the song, Show Me Yours, from The Rules of the Game, was featured in an episode of the hit U.S. TV series The “L” Word. Born in Toronto, Adi grew up in Europe in a family of musicians. Her parents were opera singers and her brother, Russell, is a world-renowned baritone, with whom she has performed in operas and operettas. Braun studied at the Royal Conservatory of Music and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music.
In the late 90s, Adi returned to the music she loves, which she calls “cabarazz,” that draws on aspects from both cabaret and jazz idioms. Regarded as one of Canada’s leading jazz vocalists, in 2007 she was nominated as Best Major Jazz Vocalist of the Year by the Manhattan Association of Cabarets and Clubs (MAC).

Her repertoire ranges from the Great American Songbook, to European cabaret, to contemporary songs by Canadian legends such as Shirley Eikhard and Gordon Lightfoot, as well as her own original compositions and arrangements.  She performs in English, German, French and Spanish. 

Moderne Frau will be available for sale at the CD launch, at Adi Braun’s live performances, and for digital download on iTunes.

Tickets for the CD Launch on October 22 at Temerty Theatre are $25 and can be purchased online at http://performance.rcmusic.ca/event/1718/moderne-frau, in person at the Weston Family Box Office, 273 Bloor Street West, or by calling 416-408-0208.

For more information on Adi Braun and her upcoming performances, log on to www.adibraun.com.

Jazz Luminary Dee Dee Bridgewater To Receive ASCAP Foundation Champion Award At 2017 ASCAP Foundation Honors In NYC

The ASCAP Foundation announces that Grammy- and Tony Award-winning jazz legend Dee Dee Bridgewater will be honored with The ASCAP Foundation Champion Award at The ASCAP Foundation Honors Celebration on Thursday, December 14.  The annual, invitation-only event takes place at Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City. 

The ASCAP Foundation President Paul Williams said: "The ASCAP Foundation is honored to recognize Dee Dee Bridgewater not only for her immense talent and singular contribution to music, but for her work and commitment to building a food-secure world for current and future generations.  She is a shining example of how the creative community can step forward and use their talent and influence to improve the human condition. We are delighted to present Dee Dee Bridgewater with our ASCAP Foundation Champion Award."

The Champion Award was established by The ASCAP Foundation to celebrate ASCAP members whose contributions extend beyond music to significant charitable and humanitarian efforts. Previous members who have received the award include Arlo Guthrie, Tony Bennett, Judy Collins, John Mellencamp, Billy Joel, Richard Marx, Ne-Yo and Jason Mraz. As a Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Bridgewater is part of an appeal for international solidarity to finance global grassroots projects in the fight against world hunger.

Dee Dee Bridgewater is currently preparing for the release of her new album, Memphis: Yes, I'm Ready on September 15.  The eagerly-anticipated project has been in the works for several years as Bridgewater returned to her birth city to continue the musical exploration of her roots and influences, determined to recapture the same magic and history of the Blues, R&B and Soul classics that she takes on as repertoire and that were originally made in/associated with the city.  The album was recorded at Willie Mitchell's historic Royal Studios.

Known for her powerhouse vocals and masterful scat singing, Bridgewater has led a multifaceted career spanning four decades.  She earned her first professional experience as a member of the legendary Thad Jones/Mel Louis Big Band, and throughout the 70s performed with jazz notables Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordon and Dizzy Gillespie.  After a foray into the pop world during the 1980s, she relocated to Paris and turned her attention back to jazz.  Bridgewater created her own label, DDB Records, and subsequently produced all her critically acclaimed CD projects — all but one have received Grammy nominations.  Her successful 1997 tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, Dear Ella, earned her two Grammys.

Over the course of her career, Bridgwater has ascended to the upper echelon of vocalists, putting her unique spin on standards and taking intrepid leaps of faith in re-envisioning jazz classics. The Tony and three-time Grammy winner most recently won the Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album for Elemora Fagan (1915-1958): To Billie With Love From Dee Dee.

Bridgewater's parallel career in musical theater won her a Tony Award for her role as "Glinda" in The Wiz in 1975. Her other theatrical credits include Sophisticated Ladies, Black Ballad, Carmen, Cabaret and the Off-Broadway and West End productions of Lady Day, for which Bridgewater received the British Laurence Olivier Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.



Immerse yourself into the Smooth Jazz and World Music of acclaimed instrumentalist, Arturo Romay. On Heart To Heart, his first album since 2010, the multi-talented Venezuelan-born composer and guitarist, who has performed with Tito Puente, Celia Cruz, Marc Anthony and other Latin music greats, comes into full spectrum with his acoustic mastery and special blend of sensual jazz, infectious rhythms, and moving melodies. You’ll discover exquisite musicianship on this new set of contemporary songs… from intimate and romantic, to jazzy and atmospheric. Guitar great, Joe Walsh of The Eagles, penned a personal note to Arturo after sitting and listening to him play, “You are incredible, I wish you all the success you deserve.” Discover Arturo Romay and you too will connect Heart To Heart. ~ www.smoothjazz.com


Mindblowing work from Navasha Daya – a singer you might know for her key role in the group Fertile Ground many years back – still one of the most important contemporary acts we've ever stocked at Dusty Groove! Here, Navasha returns as a tremendous soul star on her own – working on these incredible songs of righteous power – in a full concept album dedicated to black families and their quest for freedom in America! Some of the songs are quite topical, others are very universal – and the musical approach here is a mix of deep funk, contemporary soul, and even some surprising 60s and 70s elements – all composed and produced by Fanon Hill, who's Daya's key musical partner on the album. There's still all the jazziness and warmth that we love in the music of Fertile Ground, but the style is also nicely different – and the whole thing is a tremendous statement of power from this always-compelling singer. Titles include "I Am Because We Are", "Operation 666 Poverty", "I Too Dream Of Things Beautiful", "Better Than This", "It's Still About Freedom", "Baltimore Stand Strong", and "Whose Child".  ~ Dusty Groove


A fantastic young jazz singer, and one who really has her own style very firmly in place – one of those rare talents that comes along once in a blue moon, and makes us instantly sit up and go "wow", right after hearing just a few notes! Natasha Agrama is steeped in many of the best jazz traditions, but wraps them up all into a unique strand that instantly makes her music very special, and very personal – definitely jazz vocals at the core, but with lots of contemporary inflections and wonderful instrumentation – served up by a mix of classic and present talents who include Ronald Bruner on drums, Thundercat on bass, George Duke on Fender Rhodes, Stanley Clarke on bass, and Austin Peralta on piano and Rhodes. The set begins with a wonderful take on Joe Henderson's "Black Narcissus", then rolls into a great update of Mingus' "Goodbye Porkpie Hat", before taking on Bilal's "All Matter", and transforming older standards "Lover Man", "I Wonder What Became Of Me", and "In A Sentimental Mood".  ~ Dusty Groove


Violinist/ and composer Sam Bardfeld is fearlessly unique and expressive. He is the product of an NYC upbringing in the 70s and early 80s, which was, he says, "both a dysfunctional and fantastic place to grow up, specific in time and place but also typical of the violence and regeneration inherent to America and some of the strange beauty it produces. Music was everywhere for a curious kid (Central Park rumba circles, 3 A.M. recording at CBGBs, Don Cherry at Soundscape when the cops raided, Zorn squealing mouthpieces at the Kitchen, high as a kite for Ravi Shankar at Carnegie Hall.) The decrepit splendor left an inescapable imprint on my young self."

Bardfeld has been influenced by many high-profile musical associations and experiences, including being a member of The Jazz Passengers and a frequent collaborator of Bruce Springsteen (a veteran of three recordings and two tours). Bardfeld's playing is featured in Roy Nathanson's Sotto Voce and Joel Harrison's String Choir, and he has toured or recorded with jazz groups like Michael Attias' Sextet, Butler/Bernstein and the Hot 9, Steven Bernstein's MTO, Anthony Braxton's Trillium Orchestra, Vince Giordano and The Nighthawks, the String Trio of NY, and Royal Hartigan's Blood Drum Spirit.  Outside the jazz world he has toured or recorded with Calexico, John Cale, Debbie Harry, The Red Clay Ramblers, and Johnny Pacheco, etc. He has also worked with Elvis Costello, John Zorn, Kris Davis, Willie Colon and Hank Roberts among many others. Bardfeld is also the author of the book Latin Violin (Hal Leonard, 2002) on the Afro-Cuban violin tradition.

Bardfeld's previous recordings, Taxidermy (CIMP, 1999) and Periodic Trespasses (FreshSounds, 2006) have both earned acclaim, including a four-star rating in DownBeat Magazine, raves in JazzTimes, Jazziz and four stars in All Music Guide for both recordings. Bardfeld has taken his groups to festivals and clubs throughout Europe including Banlieues Bleues Jazz Festival (Paris), Sud-Tirol Jazz Festival (Italy) and Porgy and Bess (Vienna). After a long hiatus of twelve years since his last release, Bardfeld and Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records proudly announce the release of his new recording, The Great Enthusiasms (BJUR 064), featuring pianist Kris Davis and drummer Michael Sarin. Available September 29, 2017.

The trio's music falls somewhere in the overlapping vectors of inside ('harmony-based'),outside ('free') and downtown jazz. Bardfeld has created his own jazz violin language that lies in between the straight-ahead violinists and the free-jazzers. The Penguin Guide To Jazz (5th ed.) states, "Bardfeld has devised a language which takes in classical models, jazz harmony and pure sound". His playing swings hard and integrates abstraction and expressiveness. One can hear references to a wide range of musicians that stretch from Stuff Smith, Lee Konitz, and Eric Dolphy, to 'post-jazz' contemporaries like Mary Halvorson. Kris Davis is a perfect foil and it's a little bit of a revelation to hear her brilliance and creativity in all the varied contexts Bardfeld creates. Michael Sarin (Dave Douglas, Thomas Chapin, etc) brings his tremendous gifts for orchestration, musical wit, sympathetic dialogue and overall intelligence. The unusual instrumentation, with no bass, creates extra harmonic and textural space and adds intimacy to Bardfeld's unique compositions.

Much of Bardfeld's favorite American music is eccentric and forward while grounded in the vernacular. "Maybe it's not a total accident that my three most important employer-mentors are all great musician-poets of weird America and all with significant local roots: Bruce Springsteen, Roy Nathanson (Jazz Passengers), and Anthony Braxton. Bruce is (among other things) a poet of the noir side of the city - the ne'er-do-wells and hookers and guys looking for a piece of the action. Roy's stories, musical and literate, are infused both by Dolphy and a New York urbanity that is universal in its eccentricity and vulnerability. The time I spent performing and recording (soloing on an 'avant hoedown') in Braxton's 'Trillium J' Opera was also a profound education in the lengths to which a complex, idiosyncratic personal language can be developed and yet represent a uniquely American story," explains Bardfeld in the album's liner notes.

More on the music on The Great Enthusiasms: The song titles of Bardfeld's compositions are all derived from Richard Nixon quotes -- principally from his resignation speech, in which Nixon quotes Teddy Roosevelt. "Fails While Daring Greatly" is a bluesy chamber-jazz piece from outer space. Bardfeld's solo is a whimsical post-bop jaunt and Davis' a muscular free jazz statement. Sarin adds his characteristic humor, sympathy and coloristic genius to the whole endeavor. "Resignation Rag" combines a modified second-line groove with a futuristic violin melody that, with its swoops, pops and wide intervals, evokes Stuff Smith and Dolphy. Bardfeld's and Davis' interplay sounds telekinetic. Davis' solo statement and duet with Sarin evoke a freewheeling Monk. "Winner Image" starts out with a slow building and virtuosic violin solo by Bardfeld weaving in and out of harmony. Davis creeps in with an off-kilter ostinato leading to a head with Tim Berne-like tension. The rendition of the classic Springsteen/Patti Smith tune, "Because the Night," skews the intervals of the original piano vamp, making it a weirder sort of night. The cohesion of the verse turns into a free chant-like chorus summoning nocturnal passions. "The Great Enthusiasms" is an Andrew Hill-like post-bop swing tune with a touch of folksiness. Davis' solo brings out the bi-tonality of the writing while Bardfeld moves from harmony into a short free duet with the pianist. The Band's "King Harvest (Has Surely Come)," is a playful re-imagining, with Davis covering the proto-synth bass part in her lowest range and splotchy chords in her highest. Bardfeld solos mightily over the verse changes and Davis ends the song with an eloquent solo statement that re-connects with the song's subject matter, the hardships of a depression-era sharecropper. "The 37th Time I Have Spoken" starts with Bardfeld strumming ethereal chords on the violin as Davis and Sarin engage in quiet dialogue. A mix of meditation and mayhem ensues and the piece closes as it started with ethereal dialogue and strumming.

The Great Enthusiasms is Bardfeld's 'weird America' record. A reflection on American music in all of its glorious eccentricities, and simultaneously an affirmation that artists must rise up and create and perform, especially in the face of abject political dissoluteness in the Trump era. Bardfeld elaborated, "Nixon's resignation speech was my first memory of being part of a collective political body...Though Dick was a paranoid, hateful crook, there's intelligence and complexity in him that one cannot imagine existing inside our current president. During this current dark stain in our country's history, let's continue to make weird, joyous art."



After nearly nine years of living in NYC and being an in-demand sideman for the likes of Omer Avital, Myron Walden, Wallace Roney, Ari Hoenig, bassist Avishai Cohen, Camila Meza, trumpeter Avishai Cohen and many others, pianist/composer/bandleader Eden Ladin proudly announces the release of his debut album, Yequm, to be released on Dayna Stephens' label, Contagious Music on October 6. This long awaited moment reveals an artist who has paid his dues, gained knowledge and racked up experience. During his time on the scene he has allowed his artistry to steep in the longstanding tradition of being a first call sideman in New York City. Therefore, what we hear on his debut album, Yequm, is a fully-formed artist who was able to sit in silence, listen to the music resonating in his mind, and uncover a personal narrative of original compositions, reflecting years of musical exploration, traveling back and forth between New York and Tel Aviv, and experiences around the world. The music is co-interpreted by Dayna Stephens, John Ellis, Gilad Hekselman, Harish Raghavan and Daniel Dor, alongside special guests Camila Meza and Yonatan Albalak. The title - Yequm is Hebrew for "Universe." Welcome to pianist Eden Ladin's Yequm, an exciting, unique and brilliant debut from a young artist bursting with talent and promise.

Contagious Music label owner/saxophonist/composer/bandleader Dayna Stephens said of Ladin and Yequm, "Eden has a limitless imagination when it comes to melody harmony and how to weave his influences into his sound. I've being inspired by his writing and playing and in both aspects he clearly has a strong foundation that comes from studying masters that span many genres. As I've seen him develop over the years he has built on that foundation a unique sound creation that is beautifully displayed on Yequm. When hearing it for the first time, Eden mentioned to me that he hadn't found a way to release it, the solution then became obvious, this is NEED TO HEAR music to my ears, and through Contagious Music I'll do my best to allow it to blossom."

About The Music on Yequm with Eden Ladin:
Lonely Arcade Man - The entire album is comprised of original compositions by Ladin. This was originally written as an electronic track and is based on an imaginary story the pianist/composer had about a character trapped inside an arcade game. "Every time someone plays the game he is happy, but once they're finished he lives inside this little digital world by himself. Sometimes I can feel like this man (don't we all?)."

Smell / Faded Memory - This tune was in progress for many years, and has had many transfigurations. The first four bars come from an idea Ladin had back in 2006, when he was still in his teens and wasn't completed until 2013/2014. "In other words this song was a work in progress for about 9 years. The song examines that feeling you get when you recognize a familiar smell from the past. For example a hint of that perfume your grandmother wore when you were 5 can revive vivid childhood memories, almost like a flashback. That sensation is really unique."

From The Frozen Cave - This serves as intro to the next track on the album. "Throughout the years I've worked a lot with one of my best friends and musical brother, Yonatan Albalak. It was very important for me to have him on this record, even if for one track (as he lives in Israel). I sent him the track, told him the imaginary story surrounding it (see below), and asked him to play an intro for it; I knew he would understand me. He later sent me four different takes that were all amazing. The one we chose here was exactly what I envisioned."

The One Warm Hearted Man Living In The Kingdom Of Ice - This is another tune that was a work in progress for many years - Ladin is an artist that allows compositions to take their time as they come into maturity. "The story takes place on a frozen planet engulfed in huge, blue glaciers, frozen lakes, and endless snowstorms. At the peak of the highest mountain lies a dark castle and inside lives an evil witch with a frozen heart. She terrorizes the zombie-like people of the planet; they all fear her. But there is one man, a warrior hiding in a cave; he has a warm heart. With his flaming sword and after years of strict practice he is now ready to defeat the evil witch and set the people of the planet free! This song tells the story of that man."

The Way We Used To Laugh - This composition reflects feelings and thoughts about when you have to let someone go, who was very dear to you. "In a relationship - things can get complicated and problematic to a point where it can't be fixed. Even though this song was composed after such a time, it draws from the joyful memories we've shared and the laughs we've had together back when everything was wonderful." 

Safta (Grandma) - "Dedicated to my late grandmother, Rachel Plotkin, honoring a very special and unique person. When I was little she would often sit next to me while I practiced the piano, playing intimate concerts for her. During the final days as her illness progressed I wanted to return to Israel; however, it was important to her that I complete my senior recital first and then travel on the following day... But it was too late. She passed away on the day of my senior recital. She was the most positive person I've known, influencing me through the way she saw the world. She helped me understand that despite the sufferings of life, one should always dwell on the positive-there's positivity in everything. This song is playful, not morbid, in celebration of her life and positive spirit. I chose to merge tracks 5 and 6 as they both remember the loss of people I've truly loved and they embrace their influence on my life."

Times Square - "Reflects on the best and worst place in NYC. I took a video with my phone, went home, watched it next to my keyboards, and this melody just came out of me."

Dreams - "Everything is possible there... People you love that are not a part of your life anymore can show up suddenly... But you can't always really reach them... I wanted a dreamy atmosphere and decided there would only be vocals, piano, and about 7 layers of keyboards synths.  I was fortunate to have my good friend and incredible musician Camila Meza singing on this one."

Gambit - The seed of this track came from a phrase Ladin transcribed from a song by the electronic group, Boards Of Canada, which he is very influenced by. He composed a new melody and harmony on this idea and it grew from there. The title reflects Ladin's recent fascination for Chess, and captures a situation in which a player risks one or more pieces to gain an advantage in position, a "gambit." Obviously a risky thing to do because it's a situation you must know how to get out of or you will lose the game - also a metaphor for life, sometimes you've got to risk a lot in order to become better.

Schlompi - "Schlompi was a toy store in Tel-Aviv that I used to go to as kid. This song that has kind of a playful and silly melody with hints of childhood melancholia, which reminded me of toy stores, and this store in particular."

Autumn Song - "was written in autumn of course. I've always found autumn to be a very special time of year-a time of new beginnings on one hand but also of endings: happiness and mourning; rain and sun." 

NYC based saxophonist FKAjazz (formerly Samir Zarif) releases STEREOTYPE THREAT

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.

Stylistically, Stereotype Threat is several worlds and hundreds of ultra-cool beats away from the multi-talented composer/musician’s 2010 debut Starting Point, which was released under his real name. That album featured musical snapshots he had been workshopping on the bandstand with The Story, the progressive, free jazz band with whom he had been touring. Performed with members of that group, the collection mostly featured odd metered material, but the final song “Keep the Faith” had an electronica vibe, a rock-flavored backbeat and Zarif on vocals. He developed this side of his artistry further when he joined forces with producer Brian Lindgren in 2011, and formed the electronic music production duo Pax Humana – which released the full length albums A Matter of Heart (2012) and A New Frontier (2014). His desire to expand to creative endeavors beyond jazz also led to his being commissioned to score a collection of short films by trans-media artist Donna Cameron, which were later presented and distributed by The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA).

One of FKAjazz’s contemporary inspirations is Grammy winning pianist and producer Robert Glasper, a fellow Houston native who attended the High School for Performing and Visual Arts (HSPVA) some years before the saxophonist. He and Glasper are blazing similar paths while remaining distinctive in their individuality and style.

“I’ve always looked to him as an older brother, because while the music he makes is different in a lot of ways from what I’m doing, in essence we’re coming from the same place, creating music that draws from jazz but is more the culmination of Black American music, a mix of old and new with a major hip-hop element. Because I grew up listening to music like A Tribe Called Quest, The Roots and Jazzy Jeff, that music is as much a part of my life as jazz. The goal is to take music beyond hip-hop, beyond jazz and create a whole new vibe from all of these influences.”
This desire to transcend easy genre boxes and categorizations inspired FKAjazz to create the perfect album moniker Stereotype Threat, whose opening track of the same name creates a unique generational crosscurrent by pairing the artist’s powerful sax melody with the spoken words of longtime James Brown bassist/vocalist Fred Thomas. “The phrase ‘Stereotype Threat’ literally means the fear of being reduced to a negative stereotype,” Zarif says, “and that fear can become a self-fulfilling prophecy if you don’t disrupt that way of thinking. It was the perfect title because of my many influences. As I was developing this sound, my worst fear was being labeled as ‘the next saxophonist that plays like every other saxophonist.’ It was something I had to overcome internally in order to finally understand how to be true to myself.”

“I’m always veering left to some degree,” he adds, “and I wanted to make sure that the tracking of the album was thoughtful and told a story from track to track even in its diversity. I wanted to tell a story from start to finish, while at the same time have each track encapsulate an aspect of my life. There’s the fear of being stereotyped and the need to overcome that, the fear of being in love again and the urgency to overcome that, the fear of not knowing my direction in life, among other themes. The overall story comes from the discovery of who I am, the journey of being able to take away all the layers of my experience and get to the core of myself as an artist.”
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.”

Highlights include the “Hard Times” intro that leads into “Brighter Days,” a tandem reflecting the importance of a measured optimism that understands that obstacles are opportunities to grow and learn from; “Angel Cake,” which began as a remake of D’Angelo’s “Devil’s Pie” before FKAjazz flipped guitarist Marcus Machado’s guitar riffs to create a whole new celestial treasure; and “Wander as I Wonder,” whose title riffs on Langston Hughes’ autobiography “I Wonder as I Wander” and which addresses the challenges of deep relationships – and the importance of having a commitment that helps overcome them. The title of the moody and deeply grooving “F.A.F.” came from an Instagram fan’s spirited, off color declaration that the track was “Fly as F***.”

A musical wunderkind from the get-go, Zarif was raised by a mother who was an accomplished piano and vocal teacher and widow to an alto saxophonist that played in the Duke Ellington Band in the 70s. His Philly born father spent his formative years in Brooklyn as an accountant for both Malcolm X and the original Nathan’s Hot Dogs in Coney Island. Zarif played violin in elementary school, violin and sax in middle school, and was the principal saxophonist at HSPVA and Willowridge High school. He later moved to New Orleans to study jazz performance and composition at the University of New Orleans with trumpeter and film composer Terence Blanchard. While in New Orleans, he performed with Jason Marsalis, Aaron Neville, Nicholas Payton, and Jill Scott. After graduating from UNO, he moved to New York to attend the Manhattan School of Music as a grad student of Jazz Studies and Saxophone Performance.

Immersing himself into the NYC music scene, Zarif 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).

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.”


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