405

Amir ElSaffar / Hafez Modirzadeh: Radif Suite

By

Sign in to view read count
Amir ElSaffar / Hafez Modirzadeh: Radif Suite This is an illuminating meeting between musicians who share similar cultural background and creative directions. Trumpeter Amir ElSaffar is an Iraqi-American whose work has fused elements of jazz and the maqam music of Iraq. His CD-length suite from 2007, Two Rivers, was a triumph of synthesis and vision. Tenor saxophonist Hafez Modirzadeh is an older Iranian-American who has worked with jazz forms and Persian dastgah to develop his own tonal system that he dubs "chromodal," suggesting perhaps the "harmolodics" of Ornette Coleman, with whom Modirzadeh has played.

Working from traditions that include modal improvisation and untempered, microtonal pitches, the co-leaders present two extended suites here, "Radif-e Kayhan" by Modirzadeh and "Copper Suite" by ElSaffar, performed with the empathetic accompaniment of bassist Mark Dresser, whose bass will suddenly rise up to sing with the horns, and drummer Alex Cline, who can move from free jazz polyrhythms to ceremonial invocation to luminous cymbal washes that add a sense of timeless, lustrous reflection. Each suite moves through a sequence of melodies with group and solo improvisations and ever-changing moods. They're often executed with a rhythmic verve that combines a loose expressiveness with almost telepathic precision, invoking not only the early Coleman quartets, but more precisely Don Cherry's brilliant suites of the mid-'60s like "Complete Communion" and "Symphony for Improvisers." There are episodes of bouncing free-bop, elegiac ballads and muezzin-like calls to prayer. There's a musical language developing here with both tonal and collective dimensions.

As impressive as ElSaffar and Modirzadeh are as soloists, it's the collocations that are most meaningful, achieving rare emotional impact as trumpet and tenor rise together to match a precise microtonal pitch or dovetail their lines in moments of collective flurry. What stands out most is the emotional depth: on ElSaffar's "Doves over Zion," the trio of trumpet, tenor and bass manage to evoke both longing and the moment of apparent union.


Track Listing: Radif-E Kayhan: Facet One;Facet Two; Facets Three/Four; Facets Five/Six; Facets Seven/Eight; Facet Nine; Facet Ten; Facets Eleven/Twelve; Copper Suite:Introduction: Copper Refraction; Post-Idiomatic Blues/Cells A; Doves Over Zion (Dream of the Beloved)/Duet Interlude;Uganda/Trio Interlude; Bird of Prey; Awj/Ancestral Memory; Quintuplets/Triptych/Bass Solo; All Said and Done/Sirens/Reverence.

Personnel: Amir ElSaffar: trumpet, voice; Hafez Modirzadeh: tenor saxophone; Mark Dresser: bass; Alex Cline: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Pi Recordings | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

More Articles

Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Daylight Ghosts" CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 5, 2017
Read "Samba Gostoso" CD/LP/Track Review Samba Gostoso
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 6, 2016
Read "Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue" CD/LP/Track Review Golden State Lone Star Blues Revue
by James Nadal
Published: April 12, 2016
Read "The Unquiet Sky" CD/LP/Track Review The Unquiet Sky
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 1, 2016
Read "Ocean of Storms" CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 4, 2017
Read "Nwayo" CD/LP/Track Review Nwayo
by James Nadal
Published: June 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!