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George, Kazemde: I Insist (Greenleaf Music)

A solid modern jazz album in the Blue Note tradition with a Latin angle, the title a reference to Max Roach's 1960 protest album We Insist! Freedom Now Suite, evoked through strongly melodic tunes composed by Brooklyn saxophonist Kazemde George and performed with vocalist Sami Stevens, keyboardist Isaac Wilson, bassist Tyrone Allen II, and drummer Adam Arruda.

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product information:

Packaging: CD 4-Panel Digipak

UPC: 186980000879

Label: Greenleaf Music
Catalog ID: CD-GRE-1087
Squidco Product Code: 31095

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2021
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded at Big Orange Sheep, in Brooklyn, New York, on December 11th and 12th, 2019, by Christopher Benham.


Kazemde George-tenor saxophone

Sami Stevens-vocals

Isaac Wilson-Wurlitzer, piano

Tyrone Allen II-acoustic bass

Adam Arruda-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"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.

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 Bitter End, 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."

-Kazemde George Website (

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"NYC artist Sami Stevens harnesses Jazz, Singer-Songwriter, and classic RnB influences to create truly intimate original music. 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 the Make Your Mind EP with producer KG,B, And I'm Right by Sami Stevens and the Man I Love, and Amore Per Tutti with Tredici Bacci. Upcoming releases include a solo album entitled Morning (2022), and an album with Jazz saxophonist Kazemde George entitled I Insist (Oct 2021).

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), and Fils de Plouc (Sundance 2021; Tredici Bacci). Her projects have been lauded by Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and the New York Times, and featured on relevant Spotify playlists.

Sami has toured North America, Europe, and Australia with various projects, appearing at NYC venues the Cutting Room, Brooklyn Bowl, Smalls, 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 served as a fellow for Teach to Learn, a global arts education network.

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."

-Sami Stevens Website (

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"Isaac Wilson is a pianist and composer. Isaac performs regularly as both a leader and as a sideman around the greater Boston area, and graduated in the spring of 2015 with a Bachelors degree in Jazz Performance; he currently attends Berklee College of Music as a member of the inaugural class of Masters Jazz Program candidates. His teachers include Ran Blake, Frank Carlberg, Fred Hersch, Cecil McBee, Alan Pasqua and Edward Simon, and he has studied classical piano with Stephen Drury, Jeffrey Lavner, and Sophia Rosoff."

-Great on Paper (

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"Allen grew up in Temple Hills, Maryland and began playing the recorder when he was three; his father teaches in Washington DC public schools. At first he listened to R&B and rock'n'roll, which led him to learn guitar. After taking lessons, his guitar teacher introduced him to music by Carlos Santana and Eric Clapton . Eventually he started playing the occasional electric bass and double bass that his father owned, and he soon became more drawn to the bass. In high school he played in the string orchestra, jazz ensemble, and in his local parish. Later he also played in the wind ensemble and djembé in the African dance and music program.

During his studies at the Eastman School of Music , where he studied with James VanDemark and Jeff Campbell, he worked with various groups in Rochester, New York. In 2016, Allen received the Rochester Links Scholarship Award; In 2017 he obtained a Bachelor of Music in classical bass and jazz bass. He then continued his studies at Berklee College of Music , where he received his Master of Arts. In Boston he played among other things. with Ralph Peterson , George Garzone and Jerry Bergonzi , later in New York with Rodney Green , Kyle Benford and David Weiss . He also performs regularly in Washington DC and Baltimore, including. in clubs like Blues Alley , Twins Jazz Club, Bohemian Caverns and the Kennedy Center . At the end of 2019 he released the album The Bond: Chants of the Political Prisoner with his own compositions under his own name ; further recordings have been made so far with Luke Norris ( Northern song) and Jennifer Bellor ( Stay ). Allen lives in Brooklyn."

-Wikipedia (Translated by Google) (

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"Canadian drummer, born in Toronto, based in Brooklyn, New York. At the Brubeck Institute, Adam had the privilege of studying with Joe Gilman, Taylor Eigsti, Jeff Ballard, Geoffrey Keezer, Ray Drummond, Yosvanny Terry, and many others and got a chance to play Jazz Festivals across the U.S, such as Detroit with greats like Christian McBride. The '08/'09 Brubeck Institute Jazz Quintet received Downbeat Magazine's Best College Combo twice. Shortly thereafter, he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston until 2013 on scholarship. He collaborated with musicians as Kurt Rosenwinkel, Aaron Goldberg, Orlando Le Fleming, Matt Brewer, Harish Raghavan, Joel Ross, Greg Osby, Dayna Stephens, Gilad Hekselman, Charles Altura, Kevin Eubanks, Romain Collin, Phil Woods, Alita Moses, Matt Marantz, Jeremy Pelt, Will Vinson, Ralph Alessi, Jason Palmer, Kristiana Roemer, Jonathan Kreisberg, Yotam Silberstein and many more."

-Discogs (

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track listing:

1. Things Line Up 4:21

2. Coasts 7:13

3. Balance 5:32

4. Skylight 6:36

5. Haiti 4:24

6. I Insist 9:01

7. Happy Birthday 6:01

8. Parkside 10:07

9. This Spring 6:59

10. Understanding 7:30
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"I Insist is the debut album from Brooklyn-based saxophonist and composer Kazemde George. The title is a shout-out to Max Roach's landmark 1960 protest album We Insist! Freedom Now Suite, a statement of George's own determined disposition as a Black American, and an acknowledgement of our turbulent times.

Leading a quintet of stellar New York players - vocalist Sami Stevens, keyboardist Isaac Wilson, bassist Tyrone Allen II, and drummer Adam Arruda - the record is a vibrant collection of ten original compositions inspired by George's interest in music of the African diaspora. 'Understanding' features a Cuban changüí-inspired groove. 'Haiti' originates from one of George's own looped electronic beats. Stevens contributes lyrics to the laid-back 'Skylight' and the somewhat sorrowful 'Happy Birthday,' as well as wordless vocals to three others.

The music is unapologetically swinging and fully engaged, whether simmering on a low flame or reaching climactic heights of intensity."-Greenleaf Music

Packaging: CD 4-Panel Digipak
Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
Free Improvisation
NY Downtown & Metropolitan Jazz/Improv
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
Song Based Music
Quintet Recordings
New in Improvised Music
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