Mix Monday w/ FKAjazz - Episode 11

Samir Zarif

Samir Zarif originally from Houston, TX, moved to New Orleans to study jazz performance & composition at the University of New Orleans (UNO) with film-scorer, Terrance Blanchard. In 2004, he migrated to New York attending the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) as a graduate student of Jazz Studies and saxophone performance. He then quickly integrated himself into the music scene as a saxophonist touring throughout the United States, Canada & Europe in many noted bands and ensembles such as Miguel Zenon's Identities Big Band, the Hans Glawischnig TrioSoulful Symphony and with Michael Olatuja performing at world-renowned venues and halls such as Carnegie Hall (NYC) and Bimhuis (Amsterdam). In Fall 2010, Zarif released his debut jazz album Starting Point which received positive attention from many jazz critics. Dan Bilawsky from All About Jazz pronounce Starting Point as "a brilliant, non-imitative pastiche of musical movements that are both at home and foreign to jazz." 

Recorded in 2009 and released in 2010, "Starting Point" is a clear illustration marking the direction of Samir Zarif's musical development. Although many of the tracks on the album truly have the mark of a well-versed jazz musician, what's more clear is the influences that go beyond the originated genre that make it unique and relevant. In compositions like "Dancing in A Garden..." there is a definite rock influence reflective of 90's bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers. And, "Fear & Deception" swing back and forth between a hip-hop influence and free jazz. It is a departure from the normal expectations of what is considered jazz but simultaneously reflective of exactly what the traditions of jazz have always embodied. Therefore, Zarif has coined the name "Jazz Alternative" to describe his music and equally his band name as the Samir Zarif Jazz Alternative.

Well into an established career as a saxophonist, Zarif felt a need to explore music beyond jazz music, understanding both the strength of having a background in improvised music as well as the limitations of solely understanding the genre from one viewpoint. This was a deep desire well before the release of "Starting Point" as indicated but only fully came to fruition afterwards. In 2009, he was commissioned to film-score a collection of short films by Donna Cameron, a noted trans-media artist, who later debuted their works at the Museum of Modern Art. The project ignited Zarif's passion for electronic music, seeing a new spectrum of possibilities toward his love of composition and scoring. Soon after, Samir Zarif began working together with Brian Lindgren (electronic producer), eventually forming the electronic music production duo, Pax Humana in 2011 Since, Pax Humana have grown to both collaborating with independent artist throughout the world to their work as film & commercial soundtracking and have performed at notable venues such as Webster Hall (New York City) & Verboten (Brooklyn). 

After a deep emersion into electronic production, Samir Zarif begin to instinctively integrate his love for electronic music back into his work as a saxophonist & composer and in early 2016 formed his new group, Humankindition, later coined as an electronic jazz bandThe band currently features Samir Zarif on saxes, synths & samples, James Quinlan on electric & synth bass, Arco Sandavol on piano & synth keyboards and Tommy Hartman on acoustic & spd drums. They debuted live on May 2016 and released there first single in October 2016. The group is set to release a full album in 2017 as well is tour both the US and international.