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).

Title: Starting Point | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Mythology Records


Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Translator's Note CD/LP/Track Review Translator's Note
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Then and Now CD/LP/Track Review Then and Now
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Gol CD/LP/Track Review Gol
by James Nadal
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Duo (DCWM) 2013 CD/LP/Track Review Duo (DCWM) 2013
by John Sharpe
Published: July 28, 2017
Read Magnetic CD/LP/Track Review Magnetic
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 27, 2017
Read A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review A Rift in Decorum: Live at the Village Vanguard
by Mark E. Gallo
Published: July 27, 2017
Read "Lantern" CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "All Things" CD/LP/Track Review All Things
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 26, 2016
Read "Sounds of 3" CD/LP/Track Review Sounds of 3
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 18, 2016
Read "Expansions  Live" CD/LP/Track Review Expansions Live
by Budd Kopman
Published: October 23, 2016
Read "December Avenue" CD/LP/Track Review December Avenue
by Karl Ackermann
Published: April 2, 2017
Read "Cluster Swerve" CD/LP/Track Review Cluster Swerve
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 6, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.