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New Album - "Beautifully Awkward"
Monday, October 21, 2019 exclusively on fkajazz.com and Friday, October 25, 2019 on all other platforms
To This Moment
Don’t Sweat the Technique (feat. JSWISS & Walky Wah)
Don’t Drag Me (Intro)
Don’t Drag Me (feat. Natalie Oliveri)
Prelude to the Stars
Star-Crossers (feat. Elise Testone & Edson Sean)
A New Trail (feat. Marcus Machado)
Feeling Felt (feat. Natalie Oliveri)
Half Moon (feat. Yoshiki Yamada)
Beautiful Magic (feat. Devin Bing)
Intro to an OG Love
Supreme Love (feat. BD3 & Marcus Machado)
Walking Distance (feat. Noah MacNeil)
In Conclusion...I’m Never Afraid (feat. L-Twice)
Full Credits: Justin Swiney - drums (track 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12 & 14), Noah MacNeil - piano (track 1, 2, 11, 12 & 13), Marcus Machado - guitar (track 7, 11 & 12) Julian Litwack - guitar (track 3, 4 & 5) Yoshiki Yamada - acoustic & electric bass (track 2 & 9) Lez Lemon - electric bass (track 12) and all featured artists (included in track listing) | Production & Composition: FKAjazz | Mixing Engineer: FKAjazz | Mastering by Joe Lambert Mastering | Artwork: Original Art Piece by Keiwen Tam, Photo & Design by Taesong Kim.
*FKAjazz uses Ableton Live and Universal Audio hardware & software for production and mixing.
ABOUT “BEAUTIFULLY AWKWARD”
“Beautifully Awkward" is FKAjazz’s second full-length album release, the first of which was in 2017 titled, “Stereotype Threat” which United Press International stated, “he fearlessly plays with precision and a passion that takes you on a musical journey like no other.” and dubbed FKAjazz as a “triple threat Musician/Producer/Writer.”
As explained by FKAjazz, “This album is a love story, my love story but also reflective of what everyone goes through in finding love for themselves. I began writing music for ‘Beautifully Awkward’ shortly after a breakup. It was my therapy, a great way to self-reflect & have high hopes for the future. I started online-dating for the first time which was outrageous (in a good way!) and very eye-opening. I think anyone that gains the courage to do it with the intention of not just hooking up, soon learns some interesting lessons themselves and how we interact with different types of people in our lives. It taught me a lot about myself during a very concentrated period of my life when I felt extremely vulnerable & open to change. More-so, I especially learned how incredibly awkward finding love can truly be. My conclusion in short, finding love is both beautiful & awkward. It’s beautifully awkward. And so are people in general which is really fascinating to look at from that perspective. Putting that definition on love really brought me to a good place; more open & honest with myself and the people I connect with. Naturally it went right into the music I was creating. And hence, there was a story to tell.”
FKAjazz is by far a formidable multi-instrumentalist, performing tenor, soprano & alto saxophone throughout the album, as well as keyboards, synthesizers and effects. But to some, his greater talents lay in his music production & ability to bring together a full cast of musicians & artists that all shine through his songwriting & vision. This album is drenched with a plethora of talented artists and musicians all stemming from a newly established collective called Trew Culture founded by FKAjazz together with drummer Justin Swiney & Hip Hop artist, BD3.
Beautifully Awkward is set to be released exclusively on www.fkajazz.com on October 21st 2019 and on all other platforms on October 25th 2019. and will be coupled with the release of 8 animated music videos created by Peter Rhoe of Totally Animated Studios. These 2D animated videos are not only fun & creative, but give a glimpse into the stories behind the music and the many phases in which love may enter our lives. Beautifully Awkward is definitely one of those albums that will force you into a deep-dive eager to discover more about FKAjazz and all the featured artists throughout the album.
MORE ABOUT FKAJAzz
Originally from Houston, Texas, the musician/producer/writer Samir Zarif aka FKAjazz “first began catching the attention of many when he moved to New Orleans, where he performed often with the likes of Ellis Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, and the Jason Marsalis Quintet,” as noted by Christian Wissmuller in JazzEd Magazine.
FKAjazz moved to New York in the early 2000s to attend the Manhattan School of Music garnering a decade of experience as a touring musician, music producer and for a short time, an Electronic Music Producer & DJ. Naturally, through this trajectory the artist evolved beyond the cliched expectations of what it means to be a “jazz musician.”
Christian Wissmuller later states, "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. However his perspective goes further than just adding modern elements to what may be perceived as traditional music. He made that clear in a recent live interview on BRIC TV’s B-Side by saying, “my goal is not to just pay homage to the foundation of jazz but to all Black American Music.” Therefore, to FKAjazz, his music is built on the foundations of jazz music and everything that came thereafter.
A new scene of jazz musicians taking up the mantel as the producers and tastemakers for popular music around the world has slowly been on the rise since the early 2000s. Forerunners like Robert Glasper and Chris Dave who spent much of their early careers working with artists & producers such as D’Angelo, J Dilla, & The Roots, have increasingly sparked a new generation of musicians & producers. FKAjazz is without a doubt taking the reins as one of it’s new frontmen. FKAjazz, whose background is reflective of Glasper & Dave, is not only a fellow Houstonian but is also from the same performing arts high school, HSPVA. In a nutshell FKAjazz music can be characterized as Hiphop Jazz; not to be confused with Jazz Hiphop, the latter being Jazz influenced by Hiphop versus the other way around. “Going up at the height of 90s Hiphop & R&B while simultaneously studying Jazz music gave me a perspective of the music many of my cohorts have used in different ways. As someone that has spent many years as both a jazz saxophonist & my own producer, I feel like I have the facility to bring something fresh to the table,” says FKAjazz.
And that he has indeed. As United Press International stated, “[FKAjazz, a] triple threat Musician/Producer/Writer doesn't disappoint. This is clearly a man on a mission. He takes traditional jazz and twists into a force that is uniquely his own. He fearlessly plays with precision and a passion that takes you on a musical journey like no other. As promised, there is Greatness here."
FKAjazz in Reviews
JAZZED MAGAZINE REVIEW
BY CHRISTIAN WISSMULLER
Originally from Houston, Texas, tenor and soprano saxophonist Samir Zarif first began catching the attention of many when he moved to New Orleans, where he performed often with the likes of Ellis Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, and the Jason Marsalis Quintet.
A move to NYC in the early aughts saw Zarif attending the Manhattan School of Music and performing with The Paislies and, later, The Story. With 2011 came his first album as a leader, Starting Point, a disc that showcased his talents as a songwriter and passion for alternative and electronic music genres.
With the release of his newest album, Stereotype Threat, Zarif unveiled his new artistic identity, FKAjazz (FKA = formerly known as), moving jazz forward even further into new and exciting territories, incorporating elements of hip hop, traditional jazz, R&B, and other musical forms.
“The phrase ‘Stereotype Threat’ literally means the fear of being reduced to a negative stereotype,” Zarif explains. “It was the perfect title because of my influences. As I was developing this sound, my worst fear was being labeled as, ‘The next saxophonist [who] plays like every other saxophonist.’”
Published Oct 2017
O'S PLACE REVIEW
by D. Oscar & Heide Groomes
"Stereotype Threat" Review: Riveting, electronic, club beats dominate the landscape of Stereotype Threat, the latest release from saxophonist FKAjazz (aka Samir Zarif). The band is composed of Lez Lemon (b), Julian Litwack (g), Justin Swiney (d), Noah MacNeil (keyboards, b, vocalist) and FKAjazz with several guest artists sprinkled through the set. JSWISS adds rap on "No Way To Go" and "Storytime Interlude". Marcus Machado (g) makes his presence known on two selections notably "Angel Cake" including Lez Lemon (b). It's a solid, funky, dance party.
Published Sept 2017
UNITED PRESS INTERNATIONAL
"...On his forthcoming release 'Stereotype Threat', the triple threat Musician/Producer/Writer doesn't disappoint. This is clearly a man on a mission. He takes traditional jazz and twists into a force that is uniquely his own. He fearlessly plays with precision and a passion that takes you on a musical journey like no other. As promised, there is Greatness here."
Published Sept 2017
Every Tuesday starting on October 8th 2019, FKAjazz will be releasing a new animated video for staple songs featured on the album; 8 videos starting with his take on the Hiphop classic “Don’t Sweat the Technique".” To watch/download all videos click here.
photos by Luke Midgley