It really is fair to say that all artists are storytellers. No matter the medium they are sharing what’s on their minds. Sharing things they’ve seen or felt; things that have had an impact on them and maybe even you. Sometime those stories are emotionally charged and tragic. And sometimes they’re light-hearted and flat-out funny. Like life itself, sometimes they are all of that.
When you speak with filmmaker Patrick House you quickly home in on the fact that he’s influenced by those full life stories and interested in telling them with authentic portrayals of the real life cast of characters that play them out. Artists, of course, often spin those stories to create some interesting, clever, thought- provoking, whimsical and, yes, flat-out funny scenarios as well. House’s latest film, Blue Diamonds, is indeed an enjoyable and well executed example of all of that.
The award – winning, Blue Diamonds is a full production, film short currently showing in notable film festivals around the country, garnering rave reviews and critical acclaim. In the entertaining film House, who now calls NYC home, calls upon the tales and characters of growing up in his native Chicago to craft an entwined, two prong plot – perfectly cast, scripted and enacted – boasting a soulful, retro-vibe a la 70’s Blaxploitation film classics with a cool comedic lean. Blue Diamonds also comes complete with a felicitous, soul – slathered soundtrack to match – a high priority for filmmaker House – splendidly provided by ace guitarist, producer and an I SPY SOUL featured artist, Marcus Machado.
We caught up with the talented Patrick House to learn more about the impetus for Blue Diamonds, the influence of his Emmy-winning dad, his approach to making films and the portrayal of African- Americans in film. Check out this video interview and all others on the I SPY SOUL Youtube Channel.
Keep an eye out for screenings of Blue Diamonds at a film festival near you. To contact filmmaker Patrick House for further information or interest in the film go to Patrickhousefilms.com
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
Marcus Machado Armed and dangerously good!
Sure, many have come to know talented, Brooklyn-based guitarist, Marcus Machado by way of his winning Rolling Stone Magazine and D’Addario’s Next Young Gun competition in 2014, beating out scores of young players. But truth be told, he was actually and aptly stamped with the prodigy tag long before that. As a young teenager he was ripping the stage and turning heads with outstanding play that belied his age and in the years since, gaining praise and valuable opportunity from veteran performers like soul/R&B luminaries, The Family Stand, bassist extraordinaire Victor Bailey, and acclaimed MC Pharaohe Monch to name a few, along the way. Now with loads of experience and industry buzz Marcus is poised for a formal breakout. His EP 29, released on the Purpose Music Group imprint, opened more eyes to his musical brew of rock, soul, jazz, blues, and funk and serves as the perfect appetizer for a full scale project planned for later this year. Check out the interview below and others on the I SPY SOUL YouTube Channel
Be sure to check out Marcus Machado’s EP 29 by clicking link.
In the midst of a super busy schedule touring, recording and performing with the likes of Pete Rock, Robert Glasper and Nas to name a few, Marcus Machado has recently produced the soulful soundtrack for the award – winning comedy film-short Blue Diamonds. Check out the first single from the soundtrack, “I Can’t Lose” by clicking here and find out more about the hilarious Blue Diamonds in our interview with the film’s creator, Patrick House by clicking here