BEAUTIFULLY AWKWARD is set for worldwide release October 25, 2019

NASHVILLE, TENN (Oct. 22, 2019) –  Twin streams of Black-American heritage nourish BEAUTIFULLY AWKWARD, the second full-length release by FKAjazz. Released exclusively today (10/22) on, the album becomes available on all other digital and streaming platforms Friday, October 25 along with eight animated videos created for the project by Peter Rhoe of Totally Animated Studios.

FKAjazz is an innovative musical alchemist, a powerfully expressive tenor, soprano and alto saxophonist who animates his compositions with well-crafted arrangements, based on his own keyboard parts and wedded to organic rhythm beds. Surrounded by outstanding guest vocalists and instrumentalists from his Trew Culture collective, he performs with a mastery that confirms his coronation by UPI as “a triple-threat Musician/Producer/Writer.”

FKAjazz follows the trail blazed before him by Robert Glasper, Chris Dave, D’Angelo, J Dilla, The Roots and other pioneers of the jazz/hip-hop intersection. Yet BEAUTIFULLY AWKWARD probes further down that trail, achieving a blend of essences that suggests the birth of a new genre entirely.

“Growing up at the height of Nineties hip-hop and R&B while simultaneously studying jazz gave me a perspective of the music that many of my cohorts have used in different ways,” FKAjazz notes. “As someone who has spent many years as both a jazz saxophonist and my own producer, I feel like I have the facility to bring something fresh to the table.”

Some of this music’s unique quality stems from its personal genesis. “This album is a love story — my love story,” FKAjazz says. “But it’s also reflective of what everyone goes through in finding love for themselves. I began writing music for BEAUTIFULLY AWKWARD after a breakup. It was my therapy, a great way to self-reflect and have high hopes for the future.”

The album title is especially apropos. “Love is both beautiful and awkward,” he explains. “And so are people in general, which is a really fascinating perspective. Putting that definition on love really brought me to a good place — more open and honest with myself and the people I connect with. Naturally, it went right into the music I was creating.”

As directed by FKAjazz, the two genres join in what might be called a garden of musical delights. In place of both jazz flash and dance-beat declamation, the album conjures a kind of dream state, drawing from the heart rather than the excess of each style. It is, as a result, an epic achievement and a promise of even more illuminating exploration ahead.

Born Samir Zarif in Houston, Texas, FKAjazz moved to New Orleans, where he performed with Ellis Marsalis, Nicholas Payton, the Jason Marsalis Quintet and other luminaries before enrolling at the Manhattan School Of Music in New York in the early 2000s. Branching beyond jazz, he channeled multiple aspects of Black-American artistry into a highly personal approach as a composer, player, producer and DJ. Following a landmark performance at Webster Hall in New York in late 2016, FKAjazz released his debut album STEREOTYPE THREAT in 2017 and performed subsequently with members of Trew Culture on BRIC TV. He has been acclaimed as “an artist who refuses to be pinned down” ( and lauded for blending “a new vision and old-school precision to create an exciting new take on jazz” ( More to the point, United Press International concludes, FKAjazz “fearlessly plays with precision and a passion that takes you on a musical journey like no other. There is Greatness here.”

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