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ElSaffar, Amir  and Hafez Modirzadeh: Radif Suite (Pi Recordings)

An important new recording in the continuing advancement of jazz from the trumpeter Amir ElSaffar and tenor saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh.

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product information:

UPC: B00353W2AA

Label: Pi Recordings
Catalog ID: PI 32
Squidco Product Code: 12714

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded October 8, 2009 at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, CA by Gary Mankin. Mixed October 2009 by Liberty Ellman at 4D, Brooklyn.


Amir ElSaffar-trumpet, vocal

Hafez Modirzadeh-tenor saxophone

Alex Cline-drums, gongs

Mark Dresser-bass

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track listing:

Radif-E Kayhan:

1. Facet One 2:34

2. Facet Two 2:39

3. Facets Three/Four 3:22

4. Facets Five/Six 4:48

5. Facets Seven/Eight 5:42

6. Facet Nine 1:48

7. Facet Ten 5:49

8. Facets Eleven/Twelve 3:54

Copper Suite:

9. Introduction: Copper Refraction 2:24

10. Post-Idiomatic Blues/Cells A 7:33

11. Doves Over Zion (Dream of the Beloved) / Duet Interlude 5:19

12. Uganda / Trio Interlude 4:39

13. Bird of Prey 3:43

14. Awj / Ancestral Memory 5:08

15. 7 Quintuplets / Triptych / Bass Solo 5:23

16. All Said and Done / Sirens / Reverance 4:32

Related Categories of Interest:

Pi Records

Improvised Music
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Quartet Recordings

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descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Radif Suite is an important new recording in the continuing advancement of jazz from the trumpeter Amir ElSaffar and tenor saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh. The release marks the first exploration of the Iraqi maqam and the Persian dastgah in a jazz context. Both ElSaffar and Modirzadeh are of mixed heritage (Iraqi American and Iranian American, respectively) whose musical careers are dedicated to expressing their ancestral traditions within a highly personalized and creative jazz language. ElSaffar has spent years traveling abroad seeking out masters who could impart to him the Iraqi maqam tradition, and composed the highly acclaimed Two Rivers Suite, the first work joining maqam with jazz. Modirzadeh had spent years under the guidance of Iranian master musician Mahmoud Zoufounoun and has developed his own "chromodal" approach, which brings together Persian modes with jazz into one cohesive system. They are joined by world-renowned bassist Mark Dresser and master drummer, Alex Cline.

Both ElSaffar and Modirzadeh have invented new techniques for their respective instrument in order to play Arabic microtones and ornaments. By using alternate fingerings and masterful control of embouchure, they are able to break free of the boundaries of Western equal temperament into a new world of tonal orientation. This is innovative jazz in the best sense, using Middle Eastern music in a way to transform the idiom while still utilizing swing, driving improvisations, and a blues sensibility. In the process, ElSaffar and Modirzadeh are breaking down barriers and taking jazz to a whole new place."-Pi Recordings

Artist Biographies:

Mark Dresser is a Grammy nominated, internationally renowned bass player, improviser, composer, and interdisciplinary collaborator. At the core of his music is an artistic obsession and commitment to expanding the sonic, musical, and expressive possibilities of the contrabass. He has recorded over one hundred thirty CDs including three solo CDs and a DVD. From 1985 to 1994, he was a member of Anthony Braxton's Quartet, which recorded nine CDs and was the subject of Graham Locke's book Forces in Motion (Da Capo). He has also performed and recorded music of Ray Anderson, Jane Ira Bloom, Tim Berne, Anthony Davis, Dave Douglas, Osvaldo Golijov, Gerry Hemingway, Bob Ostertag, Joe Lovano, Roger Reynolds, Henry Threadgill, Dawn Upshaw, John Zorn. Dresser most recent and internationally acclaimed new music for jazz quintet, Nourishments (2013) his latest CD (Clean Feed) marks his re-immersion as a bandleader. Since 2007 he has been deeply involved in telematic music performance and education. He was awarded a 2015 Shifting Foundation Award and 2015 Doris Duke Impact Award. He is Professor of Music at University of California, San Diego.

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