Atlanta has been blessed to have Khari Cabral Simmons as a pillar of its music scene since 1997. Fortunately, the jazz and soul bossa artist joined ATL Collective as a bass player during our retelling of Stevie Wonder’s Innervisions way back in 2013. Since then, he’s become a music director, breathing new life into so many of our albums.

Khari chalks up a significant portion of his professional growth to his time with the Collective. After tackling Prince’s incredibly complex and challenging genre-bending Sign O’ the Times in 2018, he came to believe that there wasn’t an album or project he can’t manage as a leader.

“It’s the biggest thing I’ve taken on as a music director or band leader, but the opportunity to take that on has a lot to do with my professional development. After that album, I know there’s not an album I can’t do, or imagine would challenge me more. There’s no more fear.”

When it comes to the local music scene, Khari’s involvement with ATL Collective opened him up to a new circle and generation of musicians he otherwise wouldn’t have overlapped with. For a couple of years, he spent some time away from Atlanta. When he came back, Khari was able to easily reconnect with old friends in the musician community, but further broadened his network by way of ATL Collective.

“ATL Collective was my way of being plugged into a scene of musicians I didn’t know.”  

According to Khari, being so entwined with the local music community is a great thing. An enthusiastic supporter of live music, he says, “There’s always someone doing something worth crowding into a room to see something amazing.” Although the city is evolving, especially in regard to music infrastructure, “the live music scene is always a draw.”