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ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Amir ElSaffar and the Two Rivers Ensemble: Crisis

Read "Crisis" reviewed by Hrayr Attarian

On his third album with the Two Rivers ensemble, Crisis trumpeter and composer Amir ElSaffar continues to explore the Arabic Maqam modal system. He uses this melodic type in a context with strong American influences and particularly jazz sensibilities. The result is not merely a superficial, kitschy fusion but true marriage of two improvisational traditions.

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEWS

Amir ElSaffar Two Rivers Ensemble: Inana

Read "Inana" reviewed by Troy Collins

Born in Chicago to an American mother and Iraqi father, trumpeter Amir ElSaffar put his promising jazz career on hold in 2002 to study traditional Iraqi maqam abroad. His 2007 debut, Two Rivers (Pi Recordings), bore the fruit of his international studies, successfully fusing venerable aspects of the Iraqi classical vocal tradition with advanced improvisation techniques ...