Deemed a "triple threat, musician, producer, and writer" by United Press International, Samir Zarif aka FKAjazz has taken the latter half of 2017 by storm, first by releasing his groundbreaking sophomore album under his new moniker, FKAjazz and now with the release of "Let It Snow (Lovers' Version)" a single release for the long winter season to come. "It's time to cozy up," he says. Jonathan Widran of Jazziz Magazine writes, "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 – [his music] 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." By all means, this is a beautifully unexpected version of "Let It Snow" which effortlessly holds a place on every holiday playlist. From it's smooth-groove R&B feel to the masterful saxophone performance, FKAjazz's "Let It Snow" is a must-listen throughout the cold months ahead. As Christian Wissmuller of JazzEd Magazine put it "[FKAjazz is] moving jazz forward even further into new and exciting territories, incorporating elements of hip hop, traditional jazz, R&B, and other musical forms. This single release of "Let It Snow" coupled with the release of "Stereotype Threat" (released Sept 2017), proves that FKAjazz is on a mission to take us all on an epic musical journey.
SLIVOVITZ - LiveR
The fourth album of the progressive jazz-rock group from Napoli, Italy - SLIVOVITZ on MoonJune Records. Recorded live in Milan, Italy, in May of 2016, "LiveR" showcases the eccentric Italian maestros at their collective best – playful, daring and just having fun! Some of their most potent material to date (primarily from their heralded 2011 release, "Bani Ahead" and 2016's delectable "All You Can Eat") is revisited in truly refreshing style: uninhibited, lively, but still with their decidedly tight synchronicity and intuitive interplay as a unit. Brilliant individual moments abound, with many songs extending well beyond their previously-established studio confines: affording soloists the opportunity to really step out and shine, while harmonic and rhythmic potentials are explored with playful delight by an always-adventurous rhythm section, steadily smoldering in the background. While many live albums may come across as merely a rehash or an attempted recapturing of some previous musical magic, from the opening frame it's apparent that Slivovitz is completely engaged in the material -- showcasing both their collective and individual brilliance and ambition, while continuing to push the bounds of each song's structural and harmonic blueprints. This album roars with intensity, while serving as a testimony to the intrepidity and unfettered spirit of adventure which make this band one of progressive music's most unique, innovative collective entities.
JOE MCPHEE / PASCAL NIGGENKEMPER / STALE LIAVIK SOLBERG - IMAGINARY NUMBERS
A really old school trio setting – one that has a loose, open, freely exploratory vibe that really takes us back to the loft jazz generation – as the musicians work in very creative territory that really shows their individual spirits, yet still also come together strongly as a whole! Joe McPhee is great on tenor and trumpet – and really reminds us of those tremendous textures and tones he started developing in the late 70s – and the rest of the trio features Pascal Niggenkemper on bass and Stale Liavik Solberg on drums – both younger musicians, but equally creative in the setting. Titles include "i", "A", and "Zero Supreme Love" – the last of which is dedicated to John Coltrane. ~ Dusty Groove