The Checkout Presents Thiefs, A Jazz Ensemble That Grafts Itself to Hip-Hop

Mar 27, 2018

On Friday, Nov. 2, the French/American ensemble Thiefs comes to 151 Nublu in the East Village as part of The Checkout Presents series. Joining them on this co-bill is the synth-jazz artist BIGYUKI, and some special guest DJs. Purchase tickets here.


Thiefs, a band co-led by bassist Keith Witty and French saxophonist Christope Panzani, blends hip-hop, electronic music and politically pointed spoken word. The band will also feature David Frazier Jr. on drums, Keith Middleton on vocals and other special guests to be announced. WBGO is documenting the concert on video with help from the Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

On this Checkout podcast, we speak to Witty and dig into his new Thiefs album. Its title, Graft, is a botanical term that can be applied to Witty’s approach to music. What happens if you insert a jazz riff into an electronic beat and hip-hop utterance? The band makes this melding sound and feel admirably organic.

Witty and his co-leader, saxophonist Christophe Panzani, recruited two critically-acclaimed poets for the recording: rappers Mike Ladd and Gaël Faye.

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Assistant Producer: Anthony Nieves