169

Samir Zarif: Starting Point

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Samir Zarif: Starting Point Saxophonist Samir Zarif has experienced a wide cross section of the cultural landscape of the United States. Zarif grew up in Texas, spent his college years learning and performing in New Orleans, and then traveled north to New York for his studies at the Manhattan School of Music. While all of this isn't necessarily remarkable for a budding musician to take in, these experiences contrast sharply with the aural images that Zarif presents on Starting Point.

Starting Point is a brilliant, non-imitative pastiche of musical movements that are both at home and foreign to jazz. Ancient mystical music with Eastern roots ("Circle Of Truth") transitions smoothly to odd-metered, bass-grounded music of alarming focus and purpose. Avant-garde influences are also welcome at Zarif's table ("Precocious Nation" and "Fear & Deception"), and a brief segment of overdubbed saxophones finds a place within this world ("Interlude To Life") as well. While a darkly, electro-ambient showcase for Zarif's vocals ("Keep The Faith") and, to a greater extent, a pseudo-futuristic platform for his storytelling ("The Story Of "The Old Man's Box"") aren't completely complementary to the overall balance, vibe and vision presented elsewhere, it's all part of the artist's personal manner of expression, which traces its way through this ten-song program.

In all other places, Zarif's artistic integrity and sense of purpose shines bright. Clarity is key in Zarif's wailing, mournful saxophone delivery on the haunting, standout tracks that feature Maria Neckam's enchanting vocals. Neckam's angelic pipes stand alone on "Dancing In A Garden Of Dead Roses," but Zarif joins her on "This Life," adding greater emotion depth into the vocal delivery of the song. Both tracks also benefit from Zarif's saxophone moody lines, inserted in the gaps between words.

Zarif, like saxophonist David Binney—whose Mythology Records imprint released this impressive debut—is clearly confident in his ability to chart his own course without outside influences corrupting his pure musical vision.


Track Listing: Circle Of Truth; Dancing In A Garden Of Dead Roses; Letter To The Brothers; Precocious Nation; The Old Man's Box; The Story Of "The Old Man's Box"; Interlude To Life; Fear & Deception; This Life; Keep The Faith.

Personnel: Samir Zarif: soprano saxophone (3, 5, 7), tenor saxophone (1, 2, 4, 7-9), vocals (2, 6, 9, 10), electronics (6, 10); Zack Lober: electric bass (2, 5, 7), acoustic bass (1, 3, 4, 8, 9); Colin Stranahan: drums (1, 4, 7-9), percussion (1); Greg Ritchie: drums (2, 3, 5); Maria Neckam: vocals (2, 9); Lars Dietrich: alto saxophone (4, 8).

Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Mythology Records


Shop

More Articles

Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Eos CD/LP/Track Review Eos
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 28, 2017
Read More Than This CD/LP/Track Review More Than This
by Henning Bolte
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Road to Forever CD/LP/Track Review Road to Forever
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 27, 2017
Read Avenida Graham CD/LP/Track Review Avenida Graham
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 27, 2017
Read "Brain//Child" CD/LP/Track Review Brain//Child
by Geno Thackara
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Petite Moutarde" CD/LP/Track Review Petite Moutarde
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 29, 2016
Read "Trane 90" CD/LP/Track Review Trane 90
by Jim Trageser
Published: December 1, 2016
Read "Breaking Point" CD/LP/Track Review Breaking Point
by Glenn Astarita
Published: June 10, 2016
Read "Connection" CD/LP/Track Review Connection
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 11, 2016
Read "I Walk Amongst Humans" CD/LP/Track Review I Walk Amongst Humans
by Nicholas F. Mondello
Published: August 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!