Saxophonist/Producer Samir Zarif aka FKAjazz represents a hefty number of young, talented artists and musicians whose palettes, influences and paths, although heavily draped by the imperial musical idiom that is Jazz, also count Soul, R&B, Hip-Hop and more as pivotal to their overall stylistic outlook.
Jazz cats being moved by popular music of the day is not a new thing – Think Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Donald Byrd or Grant Green, just to name a few. The irony? Well there are many but here are just a couple- Jazz was America’s first “Pop” music ( a fact definitely not lost on Zarif) – The music that was once the influencer and incredibly cool to be known as one of the genre’s practitioners. Another irony refers to the last point – that for many both in and out of Jazz circles, that swag-filled cred of entertaining, popular, and infectious musical exploration has been stamped by a narrow stereotype only covering a facet of the genre and quite frankly, the makeup of its audience. As a result, the new breed that may have gotten their starts under the label of Jazz, but now dart throughout the musical landscape of their upbringing often get pigeonholed as well – Another reality Zarif is well aware of.
Zarif, an accomplished saxophonist who has studied, performed and worked with the likes of Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, and Jason Marsalis as well as Jill Scott and Chrisette Michele is also a skilled producer who built his chops as one half of the electronic music production duo Pax Humana and beyond. Now years removed from his acclaimed “Jazz” release Starting Point in 2010, Zarif as FKAjazz and with his upcoming anticipated release, musically and literally through the title confirms he’s one of the many on the scene like Robert Glasper, José James or Terrace Martin who challenge the label “Jazz” artist.
Stereotype Threat is what its aptly called and Samir Zarif explains the catalyst and concept as well as what FKAjazz means in our video interview on ISPYSOUL!
For more about Samir Zarif aka FKAjazz go to fkajazz.com
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