Thiefs "Graft"

Help the band THIEFS to release their second album, an innovative blend of jazz and hip-hop, featuring Gaël Faye, Mike Ladd and Aaron Parks!

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Thiefs "Graft"



« Graft » (La Greffe)


The leading French participatory jazz label, jazz&people is proud to present "Graft", the new album by the group THIEFS, featuring Gaël Faye, Mike Ladd and Aaron Parks.


THIEFS — deliberately misspelled — is a group that breaks the rules.  Most at home tearing down musical barriers and smuggling sounds into the jazz cannon, this trio deals in grooves: beats that are a bit askew like the world that inspires them and transmuted sounds that create a breach between the acoustic and the electronic; a bastardized jazz spawned from the sounds and rhythms of the urban landscape.


Founded by French saxophonist Christophe Panzani and American bassist Keith Witty with drummer/vocalist Guillermo E. Brown, the group, following a first album praised by critics on both sides of the Atlantic, has now integrated drummer David Frazier, Jr. (Gabriel Garzon Montano), a lover of jazz and of hip hop, and inaugurated a series of collaborations with an array of artists such as pianist Aaron Parks (ECM), the poet and American MC Mike Ladd and the popular French-Rwandese rapper and best-selling novelist Gaël Faye, among others.




The title of their new album Graft (la Greffe) adopts this botanical metaphor in order to question notions of identity, origin and societal transformation in the face of countless and complex migratory movements.


The starting point was a residency in Metz, France (Arsenal/BAM) in 2015, focusing on family roots and the experience of being "uprooted": Christophe is the son of Italian immigrants who fled their devastated homeland, some of whom found refuge in the United States; Keith is the child of diverse elements within the Jewish diaspora, all colliding in New York City; and each of the group’s members have pertinent stories to share about the migrations that shaped their respective pathways throughout the world.


"I Live in Fear" feat. Gaël Faye & Mike Ladd - vidéo shot during Thiefs' artistic residency at BAM (Metz)


The image of botanical grafting—in which a foreign body is implanted in a host to obtain new flowers or fruits—expresses the paradox of a beneficial violence, of a forced marriage that turns out to be virtuous. The host (the rootstock) and the guest (the transplanted graft) end up as a single body and the initial notch heals to give birth to a new, vigorous and sometimes unexpected or unusual strain.


 From exile to implantation, from the uprooting of lives to their rebuilding on different soil, wrought with fear, pain of separation, as well as nostalgia and hope, THIEFS proposes in Graft (La Greffe) a series of striking and powerful tracks that stretch mother tongues to their limits, dig deeply into the grooves and create positive counter-effects to these displaced, disrupted and reconstructed destinies.



Asserting the primacy and the universality of what it means to be a human being - both multiple and unique - the group has created music that is a synthesis of this image, a hybrid of multiple styles, flouting the boundaries of jazz, hiphop, electronica and the avant-garde through their rhythmic inventiveness, their improvisatory capacities, and their mastery of loops — proof that when grafting is successful, the result is much more powerful than the mere sum of two parts.



"New Jazz Vocabularies, a Bit of Elegance and Big Ideas" (The New York Times)


"The trio's statement that "THIEFS is a grammatically incoherent jazz bastardization" is true to form and results in an enjoyable debut that is both exploratory and modernistic." (All About Jazz)


"Thiefs pratique un jazz d'anticipation qui décoiffe." (Music Story)






1. The Limbs They Acquired Over Years and Continents

2. I Live in Fear (feat. Mike Ladd and Gaël Faye)

3. Fields (feat. Mike Ladd)

4. Pas d'ici - part 1 (feat. Gaël Faye and David Frazier)


6. Beat One (feat. Greg Santiago and Edgar Sekloka)

7. Anthro (feat. Guillermo E. Brown)

8. Pas d'ici - part 2 (feat. Mike Ladd and Aaron Parks)

9. Make a Fist

10. The Leaf Node (feat. Gaël Faye)

11. Pas d'ici - part 3


Christophe Panzani - saxophone, woodwinds, electronics

Keith Witty - upright bass, electronics

David Frazier Jr. - acoustic & electric drums


Aaron Parks - piano & keyboards (on 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10)

Mike Ladd - vocals (on 2, 3, 8)

Gaël Faye - vocals (on 2, 4, 10)

Guillermo E. Brown - vocals (on 6, 7)

Grey Santiago - vocals (on 6)

Edgar Sekloka - vocals (on 6)


Produced by Keith Witty & Christophe Panzani for The Drops Music


Recorded by Jason Candler at The Speakeasy, NYC


Andy Taub at Brooklyn Recording, NYC

Mixed by

Keith Witty & David Darlington at Bass Hit Recording, NYC

Mastered by

Kevin Peterson at The Mastering Palace, NYC


Artwork by Christophe Panzani

Photography by Simon Tailleu

Graphic Design by Olivier Linden

Waar dient de collecte voor

The album has been recorded, mixed and mastered. Only one step remains in order for it to see the light of day. For that, we need your support.


Launched by the journalist and curator Vincent Bessières, jazz&people is a breeding-ground label that welcomes projects from creative musicians and helps them come to fruition through crowdfunding. It mobilizes music lovers through a responsible approach that gives precedence to the direct relationship between the artists and those who listen to them.  This is the reason we are asking you for your generous financial support.


The collected contributions will be used to pay for : - the SDRM (mechanical rights of authors, composers and editors) : 1200€ - those who contributed to the fabrication of the album (graphic designer, translator, photographer, illustrateur) : 1500€ - printing the album in CD and vinyl formats (1000 CDs; 100 LPs) : 2500 € - KissKissBankBank commissions: 300 €


The monies collected for sales of the album by jazz&people will be given 100% to the THIEFS project (other than the commissions taken by the distribution platform).


If the campaign is a success, the album will be released at the end of January 2018.


The participants will receive their rewards in the days preceding the release, discovering the album avant-première!


AND IF… following the fundraising, we have more than the necessary amount? Then we will have more resources to promote this music and to make it visible. And if we don’t reach our goal? Then the project collapses!


And with the development of the music offered on streaming sites (from which musicians make almost no money), not many people feel like paying for music anymore. By giving your support now you are making a militant act, because you allow this album to come to light without making the artists take risks, as they have already invested a lot of time and money.  If this crowdfunding project reaches its goal, you will get other benefits in addition to receiving the album before its release date.


The artists need you. But we need artists even more.


Thanks in advance for your generosity and your support.

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Music Lesson Pack : a signed CD copy of the album + hi-rez download + a music lesson w/ Christophe Panzani (saxophone, composing, effects...).
  • 5 backers
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Artwork Pack: a signed CD copy of the new album + hi-rez download + the original artwork sculpture created by Christophe Panzani for the album cover that he will bring and install into your home.
  • 1 backer
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