Musical Performance: Two Rivers performs "Inana"

Fri, June 22, 2012 9:00 pm at Alwan for the Arts

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Amir ElSaffar and the Two Rivers Ensemble will be performing selections from the "Inana" Suite, named for the Ancient Sumerian goddess of love and warfare.

This sextet of jazz and Middle Eastern musicians have made innovative strides in in using the maqam modal system to transform the jazz idiom. Deeply rooted in musical forms of Iraq and nearby regions, the music still speaks the language of swing, improvisation and group interaction, and the resultant sound is distinct from other contemporary cross-cultural musical fusions.

Doors open at 8:30pm, performance at 9pm

Tickets: $20 General (buy now*) | $15 (buy now*) Members, Seniors, Students - available at the door or online.

(*A small online fee is applied - use printout as your ticket)

The Two Rivers Ensemble includes Nasheet Waits, one of the most dynamic drummers in jazz who is best known as a mainstay in Jason Moran’s Bandwagon; bassist Carlo DeRosa, whose CD Brain Dance was released earlier this year to considerable acclaim; Tareq Abboushi on buzuq (long-necked lute) whose CD, Mumtastic, contains his own blend of jazz and Arabic forms; multi-instrumentalist and virtuoso Zafer Tawil, who is one of the most in-demand Arab musician in New York; and tenor saxophonist Ole Mathisen, who has been active on the New York scene for almost 20 years in a wide assortment of contexts including Persian, Indian and Latin music, and is one of few musicians to have mastered microtonal playing on the saxophone.

Two Rivers began in 2006, when ElSaffar composed Two Rivers, a suite of compositions combining elements of the Iraqi Maqam tradition with Jazz. This was among the first works in the jazz tradition to explore the microtonality of Maqam on such an in-depth level. The 2007 release, Two Rivers (Pi), received much acclaim, and called it "as impressive a debut as we’ve had in America in the 21st century.” In the following years, ElSaffar continued to extend his compositional palette, creating a microtonal harmonic and melodic language that combines the pitch-flexibility of Middle Eastern music with jazz harmony. The most recently composed work, Inana, that has further expanded the sonic possibilities of jazz. The 2011 release of Inana received 4.5 stars from Allmusic and Downbeat, and was named #1 Jazz Album of 2011 in Time Out Chicago.

After five years of extensive performing and touring, the Two Rivers Ensemble has developed an instinctive ease with ElSaffar’s highly complex music, enabling the band to play with a creativity that transcends pure technical challenge in a style that is rooted in tradition, while creating an entirely new aesthetic.

Last updated: 2012-05-22 10:12:23

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