Ottawa-based saxophonist Zakari Frantz is a dynamic musician and music educator with a talent for engaging humans with his distinctive energy.
An in-demand jazz, funk, soul, and world music collaborator and solo artist, Zakari has performed to acclaim on stages around the world. Over a decade playing alto saxophone, flute and percussion with the legendary Souljazz Orchestra, has led to three JUNO nominations and numerous North American and European tours. He also regularly engages audiences with musical groups such as the Atlantis Jazz Ensemble, Prime Rib Big Band, Greece's Agios Lavrentios Brass Band and many others.
This year, Zakari will venture to new sonic worlds with an exciting project entitled "Lost Years." An ambitious anthology of 10 recordings, featuring 10 unique ensembles performing his original compositions, paired with artwork by photographer & high school friend Robb Thurmond, “Lost Years” will explore the futuristic boundaries of musical energy while staying firmly connected with the roots of Zakari's past. Stay tuned to www.zakarifrantz.com for the launch in 2020.
"…One of Ottawa’s most fluent and engaging horn players, with a distinctive flair to his performing and original material."
– Peter Hum, JazzBlog.ca
“Souljazz Orchestra remain superb instrumentalists… [they] are as joyous, vibrant and timely as ever.”
– Matt Bauer, EXCLAIM! (2017)
Originally from the Pacific Northwest city of Twin Falls, Idaho, Zakari holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Boise State University, where he was the inaugural recipient of the Gene Harris Jazz Endowment Scholarship. Notable teachers and mentors include the late woodwind virtuoso Lawrence Curtis, Mark Taylor, Brent Jensen, Marcellus Brown, Loren Stillman, Samuel Blais, and Hayden Chisholm. Zakari immigrated to Canada in 2005 with his family in search of new musical and social horizons. His early work in Idaho with guitarist Marcus Eaton as well as curating the weekly series “Les Lundis Jazz” at the legendary Le Petit Chicago in Gatineau, Quebec helped him to expand his range of musical expression.
Sought after for his active and engaging approach to music education, Zakari guides both his private and group class students to positively challenge themselves both personally and musically. From 2016-2019 he teamed up with OrKidstra, a charitable social development program for kids living in under-served areas of Ottawa, Zakari dedicated his time to help youth realize their full potential & discover new possibilities through the joys and challenges of learning music.
“Zak is a deeply creative, inspiring and caring teacher. I am honoured and delighted that he is such an integral part of our OrKidstra family.”
– Tina Fedeski, M.S.M., Executive & Artistic Director, OrKidstra
Equally at home in the studio as on stage, Zakari is an experienced recording artist who has appeared on dozens of albums and compilations as well as numerous live recordings. Recent album credits include Under Burning Skies (Souljazz Orchestra, 2017), Move! (Bank Street Bonbons, 2017), Oceanic Suite (Atlantis Jazz Ensemble, 2016) and Resistance (Souljazz Orchestra, 2015) and live recordings produced by KLOS (Los Angeles), CBC (Canada), BBC Radio 6 (UK), Funkhaus Europa (Germany), NTR TV (Netherlands), Radio France Internationale, Radio Nova (France) and En Lefko 87.7 FM (Greece).
Souljazz Orchestra recently released its ninth album, "Chaos Theories" in October 2019. The debut album "Choice Cuts" by the Prime Rib Big Band is slated for release in April 2020.