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NOIRE Artist Spotlight: Amari Ansari

 

NOIRE’s artist spotlight belongs to Amari Ansari.  He brings a fresh voice to the saxophone. The son of a gospel pianist, the Alabama native credits his earliest interest in music to southern gospel and the late Alabama jazz educator Dr. Frank Adams Sr. Upon moving to New Orleans in 2009, he was the recipient of the University of New Orleans’ Ellis Marsalis Jazz Scholarship where he would go on to graduate with a Master’s Degree in Music. This introduction to the Marsalis family led him to meet NEA Jazz Master Delfeayo Marsalis, eventually becoming a long time member of the Marsalis led Uptown Jazz Orchestra. With his feature on Marsalis’ 2019 release Jazz Party , Downbeat Magazine called Amari’s style,Hank Crawford meets Maceo Parker.”  

            In 2012, Amari joined the Grammy award-winning New Orleans Jazz Orchestra where he honed his skills touring on the road alongside acclaimed jazz vocalist Dee Dee Bridgewater, as well as recorded on multiple records, including their 2019  tribute release of “Working on the Coal Mine” on Songs - The Music of Allen Toussaint.  In 2017 he became a member of the Alabama southern-soul band St. Paul & the Broken Bones leading him to international travel. The band has released three studio albums and has regularly opened for the Rolling Stones, including their highly anticipated North American Chicago comeback in 2019. 

            Amari has performed on every major late night television show as well as several American television series, including HBO’s Treme. Over the past decade he has shared the stage with Stevie Wonder, Solange Knowles, and The Temptations. His voice is deeply rooted in soul music and his influences include Luther Vandross, Donny Hathaway, and saxophonist Maceo Parker. In 2019 he released his debut project Voices EP,  available on Bubble Bath Records. He currently tours nationwide with St. Paul & the Broken Bones and has written and produced several songs to be released on their upcoming fourth record. Amari is excited to continue his development as an artist and credits New Orleans funk as his biggest influence.  

NOIRE:           Tell readers about yourself.

AMARI:           My name is Amari and I’m a professional saxophonist, songwriter, and music educator! I’m fortunate to have been able to make my passion my profession. My career is centered around recording music, writing music, teaching music, and touring the world as a sideman, and sometimes leader of my own band. I grew up listening to gospel, old school R&B, funk, jazz, (Black American Music) so all of these musical genres have heavily influenced my style! 

NOIRE:           What made you get involved in music?

AMARI:           My mother grew up in the church playing flute and organ, and my grandmother used to sing in a local big band. I would always go to their rehearsals and performances, so music was always around in my family. I’ve always been exposed to live music. I wanted to be a part of what they were doing and eventually gravitated towards the saxophone after meeting my saxophone mentor, the late Frank Adams Sr. 

NOIRE:           All-time fav artist?

AMARI:           My all-time favorite artists are Luther Vandross, Frank Ocean and saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. 

NOIRE:           What is your favorite genre of music? 

AMARI:           R&B for sure! The “Blues” is an integral part of ALL music. It’s everywhere. Favorite song would be Luther Vandross - Superstar (from Live at Wembley). The LIVE version! 

NOIRE:           Is music important in the Black community?

AMARI:           Music is a major component of the black experience in America because it has informed how African Americans have historically socialized and fellowshipped. We use music for every occasion; to communicate, celebrate, uplift, mourn, meditate, praise. All of the above. Our African ancestor’s knowledge of rhythm and melody have highly influenced popular American music and culture. From the enslaved Africans in New Orleans gathering at Congo Square to trade goods, socialize, and play music to Chuck Berry’s use of the electric guitar in Rhythm and Blues to help develop what we now call Rock & Roll. Music has always played an essential role in developing the identity of the Black community and an even more influential role in the historic development of all American music and culture.

NOIRE:           What impact can music have on the Black community? Youth?

AMARI:           In most of the music programs I volunteer and teach at, I notice that many of the kids involved are happy to have a positive space where they feel safe, can have fun with their peers, and can be mentally challenged in a way that allows them to build value in their creative abilities, regardless of what instrument or artistic medium. There are many environmental distractions that do not serve our youth in a positive way. In order to create strong community leaders for the future, we must nurture, challenge, and build up young minds to add value in how they view their own potential. In hopes that they themselves will be inspired to add more value to their community, just as how their community has added value to them. We must pour into our youth if we expect them to have anything to pour back into the community. Music helps build value, discipline, creativity, and provides this positive outlet for the youth.  

NOIRE:           Advice to aspiring musicians?

AMARI:           My advice to aspiring musicians is to find someone who is doing the “thing” that inspires you and reach out to them! Ask them questions, seek mentorship. Learn from your predecessors' examples. The elders are here, take advantage of their knowledge. 

 

You can check out this Amari Asani on:

https://youtu.be/OacwskQM9Ug

Saxophone / Educator

Altojazz45@gmail.com

Website:

AmariMakesMusic.com

Listen to Music:

https://smarturl.it/AmariVoicesEP 

Record Label:

https://www.bubblebathrecords.com/amariansari

Social Media:

Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQzBfaSUo8IhJuv78N6xsQw

Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/amarimakesmusic/?hl=en

FB- https://www.facebook.com/AmariAnsariMusic


View other installments in the NOIRE Artist Spotlight series.


[Updated on November 22, 2021]

 
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NOIRE is a new online magazine that scopes the Black and multicultural community from a cutting-edge perspective. Our mantra is “Our Lives, Our Stories, Our Voices.” Our vision is to become the leading source of true, high-quality narratives of people of color.


 

 

 

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