Take Five With Kali. Z. Fasteau

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Meet Kali. Z. Fasteau: Kali. Z. Fasteau is from a musical family, playing piano, cello, flute, and voice since early childhood in Paris and New York. Her piano teacher, for eight years, was Olga Heifetz.

She started improvising at age 14. She received post-grad degrees studying the music of Asia, Africa, 20th Century Europe and jazz. Then she traveled for more than 14 years, living in 18 countries: India (1981-83), Turkey (1976-77), Nepal, Morocco, Senegal, Congo, Italy, Holland, France, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, Finland, Haiti, Zimbabwe, Niger, Mali, Yugoslavia, Germany, Greece, and America, performing in many music festivals and concerts, national radio and TV, film soundtracks, and university programs.

Kali's recording and performing associates include: Donald Rafael Garrett, Kidd Jordan, Archie Shepp, Beaver Harris, Rashied Ali, William Parker, Oliver Lake, Sirone, Joseph Jarman, Joe McPhee, Hamid Drake, Bobby Few, Muhammad Ali, Noah Howard, Sabir Mateen, Roy Campbell and many others.

Kali. led her ensemble playing her original compositions at New York's Town Hall, Lincoln Center and Guggenheim Museum, as well as the Museum of Modern Art in Paris, Museum Theatre in Madras, India, Boston Center for the Arts, Vision Festival, Kerava Jazz Festival, JVC Festival, Harare International Arts Festival (Zimbabwe), Pisa Jazz Festival, Istanbul Jazz Festival, Livorno Jazz Festival, and hundreds of others worldwide.


Soprano sax, nai and kaval flutes, voice, viola, drum set, piano, mizmar, keyboards, cello, sanza.

Teachers and/or influences? Donald Rafael Garrett (recorded four albums with John Coltrane (Om, Kulu Se Mama, Live in Seattle and Selflessness) was my main mentor, musical partner and first husband.

Other musicians who inspired me: John and Alice Coltrane, Yusef Lateef, Betty Carter, Miriam Makeba, Nancy Wilson, Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Bobby Timmons, Thelonious Monk, Erroll Garner, Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone, all the soul artists, so so many greats—too many to list.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... The revelation came to me while gazing over the Pacific Ocean and realizing that creating beautiful sounds is the greatest joy and privilege of my life.

Your sound and approach to music: "Music lives in a multidimensional sphere, encompassing all possible sounds... high and low, soft and loud, slow and fast, rough and smooth, legato and staccato. The essence of creating music is combining these yin and yang parameters of sound so as to enhance their distinctive qualities moving through time. This joining of opposites expresses the joyful unity of life." (c) Kali. Z. Fasteau

Your favorite recording in your discography and why?

Selected Discography: Kali. Z. Fasteau: Animal Grace;

Kali. Z. Fasteau/Kidd Jordan: Live at the Kerava Jazz Festival: Finland;

Kali. Z. Fasteau/Kidd Jordan: People of the Ninth: New Orleans & the Hurricane 2005;

Kali. Z. Fasteau: Making Waves;

Kali. Z. Fasteau: Oneness;

Kali. Z Fasteau: Vivid;

Kali. Z. Fasteau/Rafael Garrett: Memoirs of a Dream;

Kali. Z. Fasteau: Comraderie;

Kali. Z. Fasteau: Sensual Hearing

Kali. Z. Fasteau: Prophecy: The Whale & the Elephant Trade Notes on the State of the World;

Kali. Z. Fasteau: Worlds Beyond Words.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically? An original and unique meld of the powerful spontaneous energy of seminal free jazz with sonorities of African, Indian and Middle Eastern music. Embodying grace and energy flowing freely in live comprovisation.

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Kali. Z. Fasteau

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