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Samir Zarif originally from Houston, TX, moved to New Orleans to study jazz performance & composition at the University of New Orleans (UNO) with film-scorer, Terrance Blanchard. In 2004, he migrated to New York attending the Manhattan School of Music (MSM) as a graduate student of Jazz Studies and saxophone performance. He then quickly integrated himself into the music scene as a saxophonist touring throughout the United States, Canada & Europe in many noted bands and ensembles such as Miguel Zenon's Identities Big Band, the Hans Glawischnig Trio, Soulful Symphony and with Alicia & Michael Olatuja performing at world-renowned venues and halls such as Carnegie Hall (NYC) and Bimhuis (Amsterdam). In Fall 2010, Zarif released his debut jazz album Starting Point which received positive attention from many jazz critics. Dan Bilawsky from All About Jazz pronounce Starting Point as "a brilliant, non-imitative pastiche of musical movements that are both at home and foreign to jazz."
"Starting Point" debut is a clear illustration marking the direction of Samir Zarif's musical development. Although many of the tracks on the album truly have the mark of a well-versed jazz musician. But what's more clear is the influences the go beyond the originated genre that make it unique and relevant. In compositions like "Dancing in A Garden..." there is a definite rock influence reflective of 90's bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers. And, "Fear & Deception" swing back and forth between a hip-hop influence and free jazz. It is a departure from the normal expectations of what is considered jazz but simultaneously reflective of exactly what the traditions of jazz have always been. Therefore, Zarif has coined the name "Jazz Alternative" to describe his music and equally his band name as the Samir Zarif Jazz Alternative.
Well into an established career as a saxophonist, Zarif also began to gain prestige as a music producer and DJ. In 2009, he was commissioned to film-score a collection of short films by Donna Cameron, a noted trans-media artist, who later debuted their works at the Museum of Modern Art. The project ignited Zarif's passion for electronic music, seeing a new spectrum of possibilities toward his love of composition and scoring. Soon after, Samir Zarif began working together with Brian Lindgren (electronic producer), eventually forming their electronic duo, Pax Humana in 2011. Since Pax Humana’s inception Lindgren & Zarif have collaborated with a number of talented artists such as Sonia Choi, Maria Neckam (aka Milan), Sumiko Yamazaki and Dylan Golden. They have also performed/DJ’ed at notable venues such as Webster Hall (New York City) & Verboten (Brooklyn). Pax Humana has scored music for short films and commercials working for notable companies and organizations such as Seismic Software, Big Object Studios, Muh-Tay-Zik-Hof-Fer, Brian Reed LLC and Estee Lauder. In 2014 the electronic duo, began work with the startup company, Thankyousomuch, a new music imprint dedicated to promoting artists for peace and creating cultural products of the highest value.
This fall 2015, Zarif will be releasing and recording an array of new material both in the jazz and electronic sectors. He is set to release his sophomore jazz alternative album "Short Stories" in Spring 2016.