Kazemde George

I Insist
(Greenleaf)

Kazemde George is out to capture the ethos of African diasporic music. I Insist is not only a nod to the monumental We Insist! by Abbey Lincoln and Max Roach. It is also a paean to those elements of Black creativity emergent in the depths of groove, manifest through ebb and flow of swing.

But George also understands something else about these musical traditions: They are both performance and ritual.

Composing the offerings on his debut album on his first instrument, the piano, George reminds us that they were given life by the gig: “All the songs on I Insist are songs that have been on the road with me.”

The audience is transformed into community, co-workers in the development of the sound. They are fellow-travelers.

Such a philosophy of composition is found on tracks like “Balance” and “This Spring,” where we hear the swing, so resonant in African American sounds.

So, 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.

We insist on community, on swing.



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