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Kazemde George & Sami Stevens
Sunday, November 27, 2022$25 – $35
Set 1 seating times: 630 / 645 / 7
Set 2 seating times: 830 / 845 / 9
Black Cat JAZZ@theEDGE! Presents…
Kazemde George & Sami Stevens
Kazemde george – tenor saxophone
Sami stevens – vocals
Lex korten – piano
Giulio xavier – bass
Jongkuk kim – drums
NYC Jazz power duo Kazemde George and Sami Stevens incorporate influences ranging from Hip-Hop/RnB to Cuban Rumba to 70’s Singer-Songwriter to classic Bossa Nova. Collaborating for the past ten years, when they met at the New England Conservatory of music, the pair have worked together extensively; releasing two albums, an EP, a few singles and a short film. They also happen to be newly married. Their latest release is titled I Insist; and was written and led by Kaz on tenor saxophone, with vocals by Sami. Downbeat gave it four stars, commenting “What is most successful about I insist is an insistence of music as not simply technical proficiency, but as a spiritual plane to consider what is at stake in imagining and remembering who we are.”
Kazemde George is an African American jazz saxophonist, composer, and beat-maker based in Brooklyn who exhibits a gift for streamlined, emotionally direct melodies, articulated with a warm tone and a certain guiding restraint. Raised by Caribbean parents in Berkeley, California, Kaz was exposed to a wide range of musical styles, and has been playing Piano, Saxophone, and Percussion from an early age.
During high school, Kazemde developed a passion for Jazz while studying the oral tradition under the tutelage of Khalil Shaheed, Charles McNeal and Susan Muscarella. He also began to make electronic music under the moniker “KG,B”. KG,B’s beats are inspired by Hip-Hop producers such as J Dilla, Madlib, and Flying Lotus, who he sees as modern the counterparts of early Jazz innovators.
In 2007, Kazemde moved to Boston to attend school, and in 2014, Kazemde completed the Harvard/New England Conservatory (NEC) Joint program, receiving his Bachelors in Neurobiology (Harvard) and his Masters in Jazz Composition (NEC). At NEC, Kazemde studied privately with Jerry Bergonzi, Cecil McBee, Donny McCaslin, John McNeil, Jason Moran, Danilo Pérez, and Miguel Zenón. In 2012, he received Harvard’s George Peabody Gardener Fellowship to study traditional music in La Habana, Cuba for ten months. Through his travels, Kaz has expanded his focus from Hip-Hop and Jazz to the full spectrum of musical styles which blossomed from the African Diaspora, including Afro-Cuban, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Brazilian, and African-American traditions. As he sees it, the study of these musical styles serves as a way to regain cultural histories that where lost through the processes of African-American Slavery.
Today, his focus is aligned towards music, but Kazemde is also a biologist at heart, and his quest to understand this wide breadth of styles is driven by an analytical mind with a scientific approach.
In October 2021, Kazemde released his debut album, I Insist, on Greenleaf Music by Dave Douglas.
Kazemde has performed with Solange Knowles and Saint Heron, David Murray, Román Filiú, and Jason Moran, at venues and festivals such as, Dizzy’s Coca-Cola Club, Zinc Bar, The Jazz Gallery, Irving Plaza, Yoshi’s, Black Cat, Cafe Stritch, The David Rubinstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, Panama Jazz Festival, Made In America Festival, AfroPunk, and Panorama NYC Music Festival.
NYC artist Sami Stevens harnesses Jazz, Singer-Songwriter, and classic RnB influences to create truly intimate original music. In writing songs, singing and accompanying herself on keyboard, she crafts a musical world based in silence, delivering dynamic, personal performances. Though performing solo is where she takes complete control of the stage, Sami is also an avid collaborator. Her latest releases include I Insist by Kazemde George, And I’m Right by Sami Stevens and the Man I Love, the Make Your Mind EP with producer KG,B, and Amore Per Tutti with Tredici Bacci. Upcoming releases include a solo album which is currently untitled, and a new Tredici Bacci album.
A graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, Sami has performed with Genius Grant recipient Jason Moran and 6-time Grammy nominee Fred Hersch, recorded with “King of Treme” Shannon Powell, and underground legend Gary Wilson, toured opening for SoCal favorites Pinback, opened for Grammy nominated folk singer Greg Brown and Black Star MC Talib Kweli, sang for the premiere of Ty Segall’s “Emotional Mugger,” and appeared on various soundtracks, including Archer (FX; J.G. Thirlwell), It’s Personal with Amy Hoggart (TruTV), Sesame Street (PBS) and Fils de Plouc (Sundance 2021; Tredici Bacci). Her projects have been lauded by Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Downbeat, and the New York Times, and featured on various official Spotify playlists, including “Best Vocal Jazz of 2021.”
Sami has toured North America, Europe, and Australia with various projects, appearing at NYC venues the Cutting Room, Brooklyn Bowl, Smalls, The Jazz Gallery, Roulette, and National Sawdust, and at music festivals Sydney Fest, SXSW, O+ Festival, Phoenicia Intl. Festival of the Voice, and Meltasia. Stevens has led the Cape Cod Symphony Orchestra, and sang the national anthem at Fenway Park at age 16. She produced and hosted Space is the Place, a music and science radio program on Silent Barn’s Bel-Air, and currently partners with ALJA; the Afro Latin Jazz Alliance, to run vocal pedagogy and performance programs throughout NYC.
Sami studied privately with Dominique Eade and John McNeil at the New England Conservatory of Music, where she graduated with a BM in Vocal Jazz Performance in the fall of 2014. The same year she received a BA in Psychology from Tufts University. Sami grew up in East Winthrop, Maine, and is currently living in Brooklyn, NY.