with DJ Harrison
Downstairs, All Ages
DOORS: 7:00 PM // SHOW: 8:00 PM
ON SALE NOW!
Saturday April 13, 2019
Los Angeles musician Kiefer Shackelford is only 26, but the pianist and producer’s soulful beat music is already garnering a loyal fanbase. His debut record KickinIt Alone (released 2017 via Stones Throw’s experimental Leaving Records imprint) won fans at Pitchfork and the BBC, and earned a Best Jazz Album nomination from A2IM. His debut for Stones Throw, Happysad, follows up Kickinit Alone with a collection of beautiful standalone instrumentals that showcase both Kiefer’s piano chops and knack for improvisation, sequenced into what he describes as an “emotional journal.”
An artist who thrives on on collaboration, Kiefer has quietly lent his production talents to an array of musicians including Kaytranada and Anderson .Paak; shared the stage with the likes of Moses Sumney, and played in Terrace Martin and Mndsgn’s live groups. Kiefer’s fans have grown to love not only his music but also the accessible online community he’s created. His Instagram (@KiefDaddySupreme) is a home for beats he creates for instrumentalists to play over, clips from his daily practice, and Dilla tributes, as well as a platform for him to engage with thousands of fans, many of whom are musicians themselves.
A keyboardist first and foremost, Kiefer was taught to play the blues by his father practically before he could walk. Says Kiefer, “I love jazz because it represents the peak of musical expression via improvisation.” He started producing his own beats at around age twelve, and eventually went on to study under renowned jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell at UCLA’s Jazz Studies program. There, he started to toy with the synergy between the jazz piano he studied and the beats he created outside of school. While his peers performed over live instrumentation, Kiefer produced electronic beats completely free from sampled melodic material or drum breaks.
Kiefer describes Happysad as “my emotional journal of the last year. I struggle emotionally a lot, and yet I feel pretty damn good much of the time. This album is focused on both joy and sadness, and how they are always intertwined.” Whereas Kickinit Alone was “90% focused on all types of sadness,” Happysad is more complex. The track titles are deliberately left open to interpretation; opening on a confident, blissful note, then segueing into a more dynamic mood before entering a deeper, darker and more ethereal place. Isolation, anxiety, self-doubt, and nostalgia interplay with feelings of hopefulness, optimism, and gratitude.
The inspirations Kiefer cites, from label mates Karriem Riggins and Knxwledge to jazz titans Herbie Hancock and Bill Evans, illustrate how evenly his music straddles the two worlds of jazz and beats, bringing his two loves together into a fully realised whole. “I've loved the sense of responsibility that comes with being a jazz musician,” he says, “The responsibility to study and understand its history, to respect the discipline of an instrument, and to dedicate your career to positively changing the direction of the music.”
He adds, “I love jazz musicians more than any other type of person in the world. They are brilliant, dedicated, thoughtful, creative, and usually funny. I hope to be considered one someday.”
“a striking entry to this lineage of hip-hop inextricably tethered to jazz”
“Kiefer might be the best kept secret in jazz and alt-rap”
“KickinIt Alone packs in the intoxicating groove and piano chops [Kiefer] has quickly become known for”
The son of a radio DJ who introduced him to the world of record collecting, Harris grew up with music, progressing from violin, to high school drum-line, to the Jazz Studies program at Virginia Commonwealth University. He also continued working with other instruments and developed an interest in sampling. His development as a producer – at first, without a computer or sampler – came first learning to replay samples on the drums, piano, bass or guitar.
DJ Harrison finds himself inspired by local musicians in the Richmond scene that’s as diverse and nonexclusive as they come. Among rappers, producers,
punks and bluegrass bands, he falls within reach of an expansive pool of musicians to collaborate with. He lives and works in Jellowstone, a house
turned recording compound occupied by his band mates in Butcher Brown, a “garage punk jazz funk” group.