Here’s a sampling of PRESS ACCLAIM for Kali. Z.
"I give this 5 stars...This is beautiful!"
CASSANDRA WILSON, DOWNBEAT
"Part of New York's original free-jazz scene, Kali has a fierce dedication to music as pure, forceful, exploratory sound. She blends cultures and tones...it's world music as constant rapture."
Ben Ratliff, The NEW YORK TIMES
"Fasteau's powerful free improvisations extend the legacy of John Coltrane, with her own distinct exploratory voice and luxurious sound. With ecstatic, but disciplined fervor, clarity of thought and freely flowing imagination, she packs a wealth of expression into a single utterance."
Steve Holtje, JAZZIZ
“Fasteau leads the fifteen live recordings on Vivid with agility and grace, with precision and freedom, with driving force and haunting beauty. Moving from soprano sax to drum set to a variety of indigenous reed instruments to mind-bending vocal glossolalia, hers is an ancient-to-future aesthetic, clearly connected to Yusef Lateef, Wayne Shorter and the Art Ensemble of Chicago’s wide-ranging culture blend.”
Pete Gershon, Editor: SIGNAL to NOISE
“Multi-instrumentalist improv-goddess Kali Z. Fasteau brings it all full circle. On VIVID, supported by a stellar line-up of William Parker, Joe McPhee, Sabir Mateen, Hamid Drake and Ron McBee, Fasteau freely explores the synthesis of improvisation and worldly sounds…this is truly wonderful music…Highest recommendation!"
Jeff Gibson, OTHER MUSIC
"Calling Fasteau a "composer and multi-instrumentalist" is like calling Einstein a "clever little guy.'"
Richard Kadrey, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"Fasteau has mastered the searing energy language of her male free jazz peers, yet she offers her own unique take. Her soprano sax playing, alongside William Parker, Bobby Few, Noah Howard and Daniel Carter is every bit as robust as her formidable compatriots.
A. C. Lee, THE WIRE
“VIVID is a masterpiece in Fasteau’s rich gallery of work. Her multi-instrumental improvisations, balancing intricate pulsating rhythms with deep-rooted melodies, are only a prelude to her astonishing vocals. Kali’s understanding of the relationship between India’s music and spiritual life brings a clarity to her synthesis of Indian microtonality and the evanescent chromatic freedom of avant-garde jazz….William Parker’s sonorous drones interact beautifully with Fasteau’s nai and kaval flutes…and the telepathic exchanges between Fasteau and Joe McPhee are the high points of this recording. The two musicians evoke dramatically shifting moods, developing fierce microtonal intensity in their soprano saxophone dance on ‘Red’, and offering a tender, elegant exchange on ‘Chartreuse.’
“A project as clear-spirited as VIVID makes Kali Fasteau look like the avant-garde’s Joan of Arc."
John Swenson, SONICNET.com
"Four Aces - A Hands-down Classic!"
rating from ALTERNATIVE PRESS A.P. Magazine.
Only 4 out of 100 albums reviewed received the Four Aces rating. The writer said, "...a special synthesis of head and heart. This is undoubtably one of the richest and most polished contributions to the free-jazz genre that a listener could ever hope to encounter."
"One listen to her voicings on the soprano sax has me feeling that she occupies a unique place in the contemporary improv universe. COMRADERIE is quaking with energy. Most impressive is her exquisitely bluesy phrasing on the horn. Even at its most frenzied, as Fasteau blends global influences with free jazz, her sound never strays far from the idea of a deep blues, as if neither Sidney Bechet nor the Master Musicians of Jajouka are ever far from her side."
John Baxter, OPTION Magazine
"An ecstatic fusion of indigenous sound and energy music."
Bill Meyer, CHICAGO READER
"One of today's most exciting sax players, Fasteau's exquisite, searching tone is absolutely luxuriant. She thinks globally, and her freeform sonic tableau is full of transcendent energy and a pliability of time and tonality."
Pete Gershon, Editor-in-Chief: SIGNAL to NOISE
"A microtonal instrumentalist with a decidedly macro view of the world, Fasteau shuttles between sax, flutes and piano with a fluency that would be showy if she wasn't so damned good at all of them!"
K. Leander Williams, TIME OUT NEW YORK
"Arresting from its first moments, like the best free music, it connects immediately on an emotional level, and the results are quite moving. Fasteau is a compelling whirlwind on soprano sax, with a tone that can go from full and rounded to coiling in a heartbeat, leaving the listener floored...beautifully sustained performance...the work of masters of their idiom."
Larry Nai, CADENCE
"COMRADERIE is wonderful. Kali Fasteau's brand of abstraction is intellectually and emotionally rewarding, and there are many of us who need to hear it."
David Boyce, JAZZ NOW
"A rare improvisor with an acute ear for nuance, Fasteau demonstrates a tuneful feel for color and energetic balance on her new album COMRADERIE."
Feature Story by Sam Prestianni, SPEAK Magazine
“Keening, ritualistic, and possessed of a center so strong that it radiates peace amidst even a fury of sound, VIVID is one of the truly essential creative music releases of this year. From a lovely exotic miniature with Mateen and McBee, to sizzling freebop with amazing interplay between Fasteau, McPhee, Parker and Drake, it is so beautifully structured as to seem through-composed. Comparable, in both musical organization and emotional force, to John Coltrane’s resonant late-period reveries, VIVID is an absorbing document of Kali Fasteau’s eternally vibrant muse.”
Larry Nai, EJAZZNEWS
“Multi-instrumentalist and composer Kali Z. Fasteau plays an exotic array of free jazz and world rhythms for trio and quintet on COMRADERIE. Accompanied by such world-class players as Joe McPhee and drummer Warren Smith, she matches her male counterparts note-for-note on this exciting palette of musical experiences. Kali Z’s improvisations are highly evolved, and she expresses her artistic freedom with wide-open sounds and impressive ranges. The use of her voice as an additional instrument provides an unusual layer of aural energy to her spontaneity, while providing an uncommon perspective of this concept. This album shimmers with spirituality, nuance and African rhythms, as if the music is playing her. Kali Z. reaches an ambitious pinnacle on COMRADERIE and displays great chops throughout this set."
Paula Edelstein, ALL MUSIC GUIDE
“Fasteau uniquely welds together a music of tones, colors, textures, and sounds all her own. Her “world jazz” is a genuinely spiritual one, beyond category. She is a master of many instruments and has collaborated with many masters of the various music worlds she has traveled. She has performed with many pioneers of free jazz, and easily explores the avant-garde and free jazz realms. She can regularly be heard on soprano saxophone, on which she has developed a fully personal sound over the course of her career. She is also proficient on cello, piano, and drum kit. In addition, she is an expert on flutes such as the Moroccan end-blown reed flutes known as the nai, and the Japanese bamboo shakuhachi, and other exotic instruments she has gathered during her world travels over the last three decades. Her vocal work is influenced by Yoruban and Pygmy deep-throated yodel work and the glossolalia of the late great Leon Thomas’ speaking-in-tongues, mixed with haunting vocalese and the unique high frequency keyboard sounds created by Sun Ra. Listening to VIVID (2001), thoughts of Pharoah Sanders’ frequent sky-soaring collaborations with Coltrane immediately come to mind. Bassist William Parker convincingly serves as the closest imaginable extension of the ever creative Donald Rafael Garrett, providing a solid foundation for this unclassifiable music of the highest order and genuinely complementing Fasteau in her mission of music and inspiration. Fasteau also offers awe-inspiring runs on Comraderie (1998), paralleling a similar soul searching glimmer of Coltrane’s Ascension. It’s no wonder that her music shall forever be connected with Garrett and, consequently, with Coltrane’s final few years of music and sound creativity on this planet. Fasteau’s WORLDS BEYOND WORDS (1989) is one of her great in-studio achievements and represents my own introduction into her unique world of music in which she has continually developed the principle of enlightenment through music.”
Laurence Donohue-Greene, G21.net
“Her music knows neither limitations nor boundaries, and has strong emotive and spiritual capacity throughout. The place where free jazz, indigenous percussion, and meditation assemble, is this music. It is timeless and distant, and deeply familiar. William Parker on contrabass, Ron McBee on percussion, and Hamid Drake on drum set provide perfect foil for the magic taking place above…an added joy in Fasteau’s beautiful environment of sound.”
Erik Hinds, FLAGPOLE Magazine
“Harboring a deep affinity for non-Western musical traditions in agreement with a keen improvisatory sense, Kali’s music is a visceral fusion of emotive expression and all-inclusive experimentation, a warmly unifying force. Much of the music celebrates the same resplendent tone colors that are William Parker’s stock in trade. Fasteau’s prowess on the soprano sax is cleanly stated and she holds her own in the esteemed company of Joe McPhee’s virtuosity. Shepherding her partners through a lavish panorama of tone colors and textures, she fills the role of leader with a feeling of collaboration, one of the central charms of the disc. While there’s an undeniable sensuality to her sounds, there’s also a compelling core of solid improvisatory skill, making VIVID all the more memorable.”
Derek Taylor, ONE FINAL NOTE
“Kali Fasteau plays enough struck, plucked, and blown instruments to furnish a small orchestra. On VIVID she narrows the focus and comes up with one of her best albums. Fasteau is as adept as David S. Ware at putting the ecstasy into ecstatic jazz.”
Bill Meyer, SIGNAL to NOISE
“Like the Art Ensemble of Chicago, Kali Z’s avant-garde music looks to the past to improvise the present and the future. She plays a mix of soprano sax, various folk flutes and unique vocalization, where each instrument is another mode on one central instrument – Kali Z.”
Tad Hendriksen, COLLEGE MUSIC JOURNAL
"Fasteau is a compelling and individual performer on woodwinds, piano and strings...a richly generous music."
Gary Giddins, VILLAGE VOICE
"Fasteau displayed a lyrical intensity on the soprano sax, and a refined sense of musicality, guiding her 12-man band with a skill that reveals an internal vision and an instinctive understanding of form."
Chris Kelsey, JAZZ NOW
“Kali Z. is one of the music’s pioneers, and one of the few to have so consistently maintained and expanded her vision.”
Jeremy Graham, JAZZ NOW
“Ms. Fasteau, thank you for your new release. Not only is it important to have as a historical document, the music is fresh as ever and a delight to hear. Yes, it would be great for people to remember Rafael, and the Coltrane connection is a great boost, but I want people to know about your music! It is active and evolving and the historical recordings put it in perspective. You and Rafael and Don Cherry founded the whole concept of world music, especially as an improvisation and collaboration of form as well as content, an idea that came from the free movement but is so much richer and politically more potent in an international context. This is a way to say I think your music is very important and to try to thank you.”
Jeremy Graham, San Francisco
“Scenes from an improv marriage. The two lengthy compositions exhibit such intricate complexity, it's hard to believe that it's the work of only two people. A study in extremes, from playful to mournful, subdued to ecstatic and all points in between, a musical examination of the genuine expressions in any real human relationship. Imagine the Art Ensemble Of Chicago circa 1969 paired down to a duo, and you're on the right track as Garrett and Fasteau (occasionally joined by their very musical young puppy) sing scat and run through a staggering array of instruments over the hour-long performance. I wouldn't be able to tell you what most of these instruments are, but they all sound fantastic! Highest recommendation.”
Jeff Gibson, OTHER MUSIC
“Zusaan Kali Fasteau and Donald Rafael Garrett lived a life together that most couples only dream about. Sharing the vagabond existence of itinerant musicians for the better part of fourteen years they traversed the globe touching down in locales as varied as Senegal, Congo, Morocco, Haiti, France, Holland, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Yugoslavia. Along the way they communicated a highly personal style of creative improvised music to countless sets of open ears. This welcome release unearths two recordings waxed during their travels and stands alongside WE MOVE TOGETHER (ESP) as one of the few commercially available documents of their fruitful collaborations.
“Garrett, who passed away in 1989, was widely regarded as a master instrumentalist and instrument craftsman. Best known in jazz circles for his formidable prowess on double bass and clarinet, he served as an integral component of several of John Coltrane’s most exploratory albums (Kulu Se Mama, Selflessness, Om and Live In Seattle, all on Impulse). In the context of The Sea Ensemble with Fasteau his musical parameters opened up to include a multitude of pan-ethnic instruments. Fasteau was similarly versed and their intense and abiding love for one another comes through abundantly in these recordings.
“The vintage of the tapes is somewhat problematic to the sound quality of the performances, particularly on the second disc, but this pales in importance to the beautiful sounds that are unveiled. The first disc presents two studio pieces, both of which make use of overdubbing to allow Fasteau and Garrett to add a second layer of instruments. Garrett’s bass and balafon merge with Fasteau’s harp and piano on “Zenith” in an oscillating dance of binary rhythms. Soon the former’s corpulent strings stretch across a spiraling progression radiated from Fasteau’s ivories. Further along in the temporal continuum Fasteau’s piquant cello streaks playful brush strokes against a clattering, vaguely metallic percussive canvas. “Bamboo Groove” is more grounded than it’s companion. Rooted firmly with Garrett’s rich bass shakuhachi anchor Fasteau’s ghostly nai sails emotively above before joining with clarinet, and later voices, to create a fathomless aquatic landscape of brightly plumed harmonic cilia.
“Disc Two gathers performances from a public concert the pair gave in Turkey opening with the greeting that could fit well as the overarching mantra for this entire set, “Welcome to a feast of sound and movement…non-sound and non-movement…eat heartily and chew your food.” Audiophile listeners willing to sift through the thin veil of static will find aural treasures beneath. Broken into eleven interlocking fragments, the performance covers a wide range of emotions and sonorities. Passages blend from one to the next and several of the pieces seem devoid of an appreciable beginning or end, but this kind of cyclical framework appears integral to The Sea Ensemble’s sound and esthetic. Garrett and Fasteau even touch on the cosmic influence of Sun Ra turning in an ethereal rendition of his “Calling Planet Earth” to the tune of oscillating shakuhachis. Compared to the studio offerings on the first disc these in-the-moment creations have a visceral facet to their execution that is easily intoxicating.
“With Garrett’s passing The Sea Ensemble necessarily dissolved, but Fasteau has continued her investigations into improvised music, releasing a half dozen or so recordings in the last few years (predominantly on Flying Note). This worthwhile set works as a beautiful point of ingress into her earlier work with Garrett as well as a stirring testament to the time they shared together, and will hopefully garner a wide audience."
Derek Taylor, ALLABOUTJAZZ
“Now that the Vision Festival is over and that free jazz love vibe (60's style) is still with us, it is a perfect time to review this wonderful cosmic gift of the gods. Kali Z. is also an outstanding multi-instrumentalist and vocalist. I love her voice, and her sax, flute and piano playing consistently blows minds on each and every new release that comes our way to this day.
MEMOIRS OF A DREAM is a deeply moving double CD, and it sounds like it is from another world where peace and harmony rule. Rafael Garrett's contrabass is thick, effervescent and completely uplifting as Kali Z. adds her magic on cello, piano (inside and out), vocals, thumb piano and percussion. These are two very special spirits coming together as one cosmic force; it is all connected and beautifully recorded. This music unfolds slowly and quite naturally like a flower reaching up toward the sun for nourishment. We also reach for music like this to nourish our spirits. The flutes caress each other like birds making love in flight, droning long warm tones for inner peace. Gracious, pure and lovely to behold. We are once again taken on a mystical journey through calm and fascinating worlds of sound. For those of you searching for the inner light, both of these CDs will help you on your way. Two CD set."
“P.S. This release is very special and deserves as much recognition as possible!”
Bruce Gallanter, DOWNTOWN MUSIC
“I just received the MEMOIRS OF A DREAM CD in the mail and I must say that this is one of the most beautiful things I have heard in a long time. I would just like to thank you for this wonderful gift! This must be heard by everyone!"
Ken Hamilton, Music Director: KFJC, San Francisco
"On cello, Kali Z. bows with a dramatic blues-like approach like an excellent bass solo. The cello is a versatile instrument in Fasteau's hands, and her composition is exciting."
Jim Santella, JAZZ NEWS