The Story

“It’s not about the business. It’s about the is-ness.”
—Michael White

IZNIZ Records was born in Seattle, WA in 2003, when the brilliant and inspiring jazz violinist Michael White (Impulse!, Pharoah Sanders, Fourth Way) was searching for a new label for his then-forthcoming album. In late night conversations about creating a new label for the project, Michael made a comment about why he made music and how career fit in to his creativity. “It’s not about the business,” he said, “it’s about the is-ness.” And thus IZNIZ found its name and its focus.

IZNIZ is dedicated to celebrating creative independent music from around the country and across the world. We exist to support the community of musician friends and colleagues we have the privilege to know, and to help forge new connections with people we have yet to meet.

Our first release was Michael White’s Voices, in 2003 which marked the 30th anniversary of his landmark recording The Land of Spirit and Light. In 2007 we collaborated with Nethers to release their 7” single Green Jean Jamboree, and in 2008 their full-length album What the Wind Will Never Tell. Then in 2012, we collaborated with Shrouded Strangers on Lost Forever, which gave our catalog the always-needed addition of “Casio freak-outs, sea shanties, discomforting hallucinations, and fuzzed-out stomps.”

In July 2017, IZNIZ is incredibly proud to release Mezana Dounia by Massa Dembele. Dembele was born and lives in Burkina Faso, and this debut album is at once deeply rooted in West Africa’s musical history while also consciously personal, mobile and modern. Kamele n'goni harp, melodic vocals, and indigenous percussion are looped together to express Dembele’s inner turmoil and disillusion with the state of the modern world. The album includes fully translated lyrics and was produced and recorded by the talented engineer and musicologist Dave Ewenson. 

I’m lucky to have crossed paths with a number of brilliant musicians, and even luckier to call a few of them friends. I am also grateful to spend my days around the musical treasure chest that is Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.  I intend my work with IZNIZ to pay this good luck forward.

IZNIZ has only released a handful of recordings, but they reflect my love of music that is passionate, curious, and authentic. 

Thank you Michael White for inspiring the "isness", and thank you everyone who supports the music we love.

Toby Dodds
IZNIZ Records