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The Kareem Kandi Band / Press

“The trio more than proves themselves of their top-notch be-bop abilities, all the while playing with ease and an unteachable chemistry.”

“Saxophonist Kareem Kandi has seen to it that the groove-oriented jazz concepts he began articulating while attending the Cornish College of the Arts continue to unfold, shaping new generations of players in his classrooms. With a sax front line descended directly from jazz classics, Kandi draws from blues, funk, non-Western traditions and extra-musical ideas, depending on his supporting cast.”

“Jazz is the only purely American music and the one genre that has embraced elements of all musical forms. This is why it is always exciting to find young artists who push the boundaries to create their own unique style, and Kareem Kandi is one musician who does just that. The Tacoma-based sax player performs a style of jazz that incorporates blues, funk and rock. Kandi, who lists his influences from such renowned jazz greats as Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, and John Coltrane, plays in a free-style manner that sounds improvised. Even though Kandi is the leader, the rest of the band is encouraged to take solos, and each band member is an intricate part of the overall outcome of each and ever tune they play. The Kareem Kandi Band performs classic standards, but it's their original material that has won them accolades from jazz enthusiasts throughout the Northwest (including multiple "Best of Tacoma" awards over the years from the Volcano and Volcano readers).”

“Tenor saxophonist, Kareem Kandi, has been a lynchpin of northwest jazz for 20 years, and when it comes to be-bop, he’s the real deal. His classic tone (think Dexter Gordon and Pete Christlieb) and straight-ahead approach lays the music on the line.”

“This is as tight a group as any in these parts. They launch from a foundation of straight-ahead jazz, but readily infuse the songs with a range of styles and grooves as the moment dictates. The band’s collective command of dynamics is particularly striking. Every tune has an organic, satisfying and intelligent arc, with vivid aural colors throughout. This show was the musical equivalent of an action movie, and I was on the edge of my seat all night.”

“There is a diversity of riches in this trio. Kareem has a technical prowess that’s simply lethal. I believe you could throw anything at this guy and he could play it. Beneath it all is a steady demeanor, a patience and an unharried sensibility, no matter the tempo of any given tune. He trusts the music and he trusts himself.”

“Kareem Kandi’s music draws on influences as diverse as hip-hop and traditional Middle Eastern music. A sax player, arranger, and composer, he fuses these influences with solid technique and a firm grasp of traditional jazz, funk, soul, and blues.”

“Tacoma-based saxophonist Kareem Kandi brought his band to the Art Of Jazz Series at The Seattle Art Museum this month and played a hard-swinging concert enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience that filled Brotman Forum at the Seattle Art Museum. The concert was recorded for Jazz Northwest and will air on Sunday, October 20 at 2 PM PDT. Kareem Kandi is a Northwest native who studied at Olympic College and the Cornish College of the Arts. His big Dexter Gordon-style sound is comfortable fit in an organ trio format that reflects the tradition while adding new songs to keep it fresh.”

Jim Wilke - KPLU - Jazz Northwest

“Kareem Kandi is a saxophonist who studied at Cornish College of the Arts, teaches jazz composition at Tacoma School of the Arts, and regularly performs around the region. His 2012 album See What I’m Saying is a solid work of jazz art. It contains eight tracks, seven of which were composed by Kandi. None of the pieces have any waste, any fat, and Kandi blows through them with the alacrity of Bird but the heaviness or even seriousness of Coltrane. If you want to spend a couple hours looking at a winter garden or a park under cloudy skies, this music will certainly improve the experience.”

Charles Mudede - The Stranger

“You cannot separate these parts: Kareem Kandi, jazz saxophone, and the Pacific Northwest. Each part is tied closely and complexly interacts with the other parts. All three parts make a whole career that began in Pierce County, was consolidated at Cornish College of the Arts, and has long been at the center of the region’s vibrant jazz scene.”

Charles Mudede - The Stranger

" Best Jazz Group 2007 " " Best Jazz Group 2008 " " Best Jazz Group 2010 " " Best Jazz Group 2011 " " Best Jazz Group 2013 " " Best Jazz Group 2014 " " Best Jazz Group 2015 "

voted by readers for the Readers Poll - Weekly Volcano - Best Of Tacoma Issue

“” Saxophonist Kareem Kandi’s sound alone is enough to clear the room of contenders. It is vast, big enough to house the entire Guinness Pint Club at Doyle’s, the whole Tacoma School of the Arts music program and half the holdings of the Tacoma Art Museum’s Warhol exhibit. Size is not per se of much value if it isn’t personal, unique, sacrosanct. Kandi’s sound is virtually unrelated to the roomy traditions of soul saxes, honking saxes or deep-chested boudoir ballad saxes. It derives from the classic, free, often enthusiastic tradition of Joshua Redman as filtered through Dexter Gordon and Sonny Stitt, all of whose shadows can be traced-Redman in Kandi’s funky organicism, Gordon in his dynamic harmonics, and Stitt in the intensity that coats his every note with a Gritty City finish. ””

Ron Swarner - Weekly Volcano

““Jazz is the only purely American music and the one genre that has embraced elements of all musical forms. This is why it is always exciting to find young artists who push the boundaries to create their own unique style, and Kareem Kandi is one musician who does just that.“”

The Weekly Volcano

““The piano-less trio is reminiscent of Sonny Rollins’ and Joe Henderson’s recordings with the same configuration, and I like the way they use that freedom to explore. “”

Robin Lloyd - KPLU

“” If you want a true jazz experience go hear Kareem Kandi. Just sit back and transport yourself to any jazz club in the world where you imagine you want to be and Kareem will take you there because he is a classic jazz musician.””

Northwest Jazz Profile

“” Indeed, the original compositions were the touchstone of this performance. “”

Earshot Jazz Magazine

““I’m looking forward to following Kandi’s jazz career. If his Kerry Hall performance was any indication, this young saxophonist will be having a major impact on the Pacific Northwest jazz scene.“”

All About Jazz