285

Samir Zarif: Starting Point

Mark F. Turner By

Sign in to view read count
Samir Zarif: Starting Point Among the many new voices with something unique to say, Texas-born saxophonist Samir Zarif's Starting Point is as fresh a debut as they come. A member of the internationally acclaimed group The Story—whose names include rising stars, pianist John Escreet and saxophonist Lars Dietrich—Zarif also contributed to singer Maria Neckam's memorable Deeper (Sunnyside, 2010). In both cases, his horn has been impressive, but leading and composing his own release is a real opportunity for the saxophonist to shine.

Born out of life's experiences—growing up in a family of musicians, the loss of his mother to leukemia, and an emerging career in jazz that has carried him from New Orleans to New York—Starting Point is a personal statement, articulated through acoustic and electronic instruments, spoken word and vocals, and improvisation. Zarif's arid tenor is at the heart of ten tracks that can portray a monastic serenity in "Circle of Truth" or a gritty abstract swagger in "Fear and Deception." The recording's fresco is painted with multicolored strokes of expressionism, spirituality and intrepid confidence.

A variety of talented musicians and David Binney's exquisite production give birth to Zarif's storytelling concepts. There's a tranquil mysticism in "Dancing In A Garden Of Dead Roses," with earnest lyrics sung by Zarif and Maria Neckam, or "The Story Of "The Old Man's Box," where Zarif recites words in a parable-like setting. The cerebral "This Life" contains a nice pop hook that personifies the "jazz alternative" categorization in the best terms. But make no mistake: Zarif's double-barreled sax acrobatics in "Precocious Nation," with alto saxophonist Lars Dietrich. are some of the most inventive exchanges heard anywhere. In contrast, the hypnotic "Keep The Faith" is its antithesis, a composition that would make Björk smile.

Incorporating a multicultural persona of idioms Starting Point's appeal is found in its ability to draw upon a variety of stimuli and most importantly Zarif's inner voice.

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


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Dreamsville CD/LP/Track Review Dreamsville
by Jack Bowers
Published: April 26, 2017
Read April CD/LP/Track Review April
by Jerome Wilson
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Adam's Apple CD/LP/Track Review Adam's Apple
by Greg Simmons
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Small World CD/LP/Track Review Small World
by Edward Blanco
Published: April 26, 2017
Read High Time CD/LP/Track Review High Time
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 26, 2017
Read Rags And Roots CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017
Read "Wonders" CD/LP/Track Review Wonders
by Mark F. Turner
Published: August 12, 2016
Read "Fake It Until You Make It" CD/LP/Track Review Fake It Until You Make It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 17, 2016
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 29, 2016
Read "Lingo" CD/LP/Track Review Lingo
by Paul Rauch
Published: January 10, 2017
Read "The Space Between" CD/LP/Track Review The Space Between
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2016
Read "Rhythmic Movement" CD/LP/Track Review Rhythmic Movement
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 22, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM RECORDS | BUY NOW  

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!