A musician’s debut album as a leader requires ample planning before ever seeing the light of day, and artists are often hyperconscious of small details since these albums provide a formal introduction to listeners. Kazemde George’s release I Insist resists overcomplicating things musically or programming repertoire that is exceedingly eclectic for the sake of variety. Instead, listeners are treated to a balanced ten tracks of music that showcase the young saxophonist’s playing and composing, and a stellar cast of his New York colleagues.
Tracks like Coasts, I Insist and This Spring, conjure up the hard swinging rhythms and dense harmonies heard in Miles Davis’ second quintet, still sounding contemporary next to today’s improvised music. Haiti and Happy Birthday are groove-based numbers, apropos on George’s debut album given his beat-making alter ego KG,B and experience playing neo-soul alongside his fiancée, vocalist Sami Stevens, in The Love Experiment. The remaining tracks exist within the modern jazz idiom, while varying in style and arrangement, offering the listener a well-rounded album from start to finish.
When first listening, the mix/blend achieved at Big Orange Sheep in Brooklyn was not my favourite. However, this grew on me over time. The band acts as one cohesive unit throughout the album, and it is no surprise that the pieces presented have been performed live time and time again prior to entering the studio. Enjoy I Insist now and expect to hear more great things in the future from George!