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Amir ElSaffar Rivers of Sound: Not Two (New Amsterdam)

Cecil Taylor’s occasionally raucous large ensembles might not evoke a confluence of diverse musics flowing into a bigger concept. But trumpeter Amir ElSaffar cites his time in Taylor’s big band as one inspiration for Rivers of Sound. This 17-piece orchestra combines the sonorities of Western instruments (trumpet, reeds, English horn, cello, violin, vibraphone) with oud, … Read More “Amir ElSaffar Rivers of Sound: Not Two (New Amsterdam)”

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Amir ElSaffar: Crisis

The music on Crisis, the third album from the conceptually driven, multitalented Iraqi-American trumpeter Amir ElSaffar and his Two Rivers Ensemble, was commissioned for and debuted at the Newport Jazz Festival two summers ago. Its viscerally haunting mix of jazz and Middle Eastern music earned a standing ovation that afternoon. Now the studio album, recorded … Read More “Amir ElSaffar: Crisis”

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Amir ElSaffar: Alchemy

Trumpeter Amir ElSaffar has made three albums that bring Iraqi maqam music into a jazz setting, including an excellent collaboration with saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh, 2009’s Radif Suite. Here ElSaffar starts with a standard quintet lineup of trumpet, tenor saxophone and rhythm section, and brings modes and alternate scales to bear on the ensemble. It’s not … Read More “Amir ElSaffar: Alchemy”

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Amir ElSaffar: Inana

Classically trained trumpeter Amir ElSaffar, from Chicago, got in touch with his ethnic roots by traveling to Iraq and throughout the Middle East for five years to pursue intensive study of the centuries-old Arabic music called maqam. He emerged as one of the foremost authorities on Iraqi maqam in the U.S., as well as an … Read More “Amir ElSaffar: Inana”

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