Musical Performance: Amir ElSaffar and the Two Rivers Ensemble

Thu, September 17, 2015 8:00 pm at Peter Norton Symphony Space's Leonard Nimoy Thalia

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Amir ElSaffar and the Two Rivers Ensemble celebrate the release of their latest recording, Crisis (2015), with a concert at the Peter Norton Symphony Space's Leonard Nimoy Thalia. For tickets, click here.

Crisis chronicles the continuing development of trumpeter Amir ElSaffar's critically acclaimed Two Rivers Ensemble, a band purpose-built to explore the juncture between jazz and the music of the Middle East, in particular the Iraqi maqam. The new work is his reflection on a region in turmoil and strife: revolution, civil war and sectarian violence; a culture's struggle for survival. The result is passionate and visceral, a cry from the heart.

Crisis was commissioned by the Newport Jazz Festival, where at its 2013 premiere, it made a clear emotional connection to the audience, receiving a rousing standing ovation after just the first piece. Driving and to the point, ElSaffar's music is beyond categorization - not jazz, world music or any facilie fusion thereof but a world unto its own. Video link

For more information, please visit Amir ElSaffar.

Two Rivers is Amir ElSaffar's primary vehicle for his maqam/jazz explorations and is a sextet consisting of drummer Nasheet Waits, bassist Carlo DeRosa, Tareq Abboushi on buzuq (long-necked lute), Zafer Tawil on 'oud and percussion, and tenor saxophone virtuoso Ole Mathisen. The ensemble has made innovative strides in using the maqam modal system to transform the jazz idiom and is deeply rooted in musical forms of Iraq and nearby regions with a resultant sound that is distinct from other contemporary cross-cultural musical fusions. The group has two critically- acclaimed albums on Pi Recordings: Inana (2011) and Two Rivers(2007), and has now come out with its most recent release, a composition commissioned by the Newport Jazz Festival, Crisis.

"...what ElSaffar is doing on Crisis is unique in music...from a political and historical vantage point, the task of narrating complex global events through instrumental music is more than challenging. ElSaffar has not only commendably told this personal and globally important story but has produced a masterpiece of a recording in doing so." - Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz

"Amir ElSaffar is a remarkable musician. His set at Newport several years ago was uniformly accepted as one of the musical highlights of the festival...What Amir has done on Crisis is written compositions that are based upon his singing in an Iraqi tradition. The result is magical."
- George Wein, founder of Newport Jazz Festival

Alwan's music program is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council.

Last updated: 2015-09-09 18:18:38

Amir ElSaffar, Photo Credit: Michael Crommett
Amir ElSaffar, Photo Credit: Michael Crommett

Peter Norton Symphony Space's Leonard Nimoy Thalia

2537 Broadway @ 95th Street
New York, NY 10025

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