A silly realization played a big part in setting the blueprint for Kadesh Flow’s music career.
Around 2000, when he was an Alabama preteen by the name of Ryan Davis, Flow says he was intrigued by the trombone when his school band director demonstrated the instrument during class.
“The trombone sounded like fart noises, and 10-year-old me swore I’d play that for beginning band,” he recalls.
Pursuing a subsequent music skill also came out of a less-than-serious experience.
“I started rapping to roast a buddy about his bad breath not long after beginning band started,” Flow says.
Continuing with trombone in high school band while also developing rap skills on his own, he didn’t consider putting them together until he was a jazz-ensemble college sophomore at the University of Alabama. In his band Kadesh and The Perfect Strangers, he says, “I began weaving in and out of what I like to call ‘bone bars’ and rap bars. I was very irrationally concerned that people would hate it. Most reactions were the exact opposite.”
He adds, “Countless people have told me that they can tell that I’m a jazz instrumentalist via my rap delivery. I took trombone seriously years before I took rap seriously, and I do believe that both my understanding of dynamics and my approach to jazz improvisation developed and consistently affects my writing and rap delivery.”
The Kansas City, Missouri-based Flow has been a full-time musician for about two years, with multiple music projects going on, among them performing around the Midwest as a member of the jazz-fusion combo The Deshtet. (“Google Calendar is my best friend,” he says in reference to keeping his schedule organized.)
Right now his priority is a rap solo career. Flow’s latest EP, the self-released Motivated, arrived Jan. 31. Recorded at his home office from mid-2018 to mid-2019, the six-song collection opens with “Accolades,” which at around the 1:22 mark has a somber, transitional trombone break that’s brief and effective.
“I just feel it out, mostly,” Flow says on deciding where to insert trombone parts. “I used to be afraid to use it in my solo work at all, but it makes so much space as a means of fully expressing myself, especially on beats I make. There are a number of songs I’ve done where I find myself playing trombone long tones as pads and distorting them to add layers to the instrumental I’m making. I just do what seems to fit.”
— By Chris M. Junior
Photo by Mundane Adventure Photography