I AM

Avant-Garde Jazz • United States
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Before Isaiah Collier and Michael Shekwoaga Ode officially came together as the duo I AM, they first played music together in 2016. At the time Collier was a prodigious young saxophonist auditioning for Oberlin College and Ode was a masterful student drummer at Oberlin who had studied under jazz drumming legend, Billy Hart. Collier and Ode immediately caught a whiff of the kind of chemistry that makes for great musical partnerships. “When we did the Oberlin audition, I wasn’t used to this style of audition. They auditioned as a combo and for some reason, the audition didn’t start feeling like an audition. We started rolling and then we get done playing and I look at [Ode] and he look at me like ‘Yo! This ain’t no audition. This cat is rolling,’” says Collier.

From there, the two exchanged information and a later meeting would initiate their musical partnership. “We actually met
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