Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

405

Amir ElSaffar / Hafez Modirzadeh: Radif Suite

By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Radif Suite | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: Pi Recordings


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns CD/LP/Track Review Makes the Heart to Sing: Jazz Hymns
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Song of No Regrets CD/LP/Track Review Song of No Regrets
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Sounding Tears CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by John Sharpe
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Lighthouse CD/LP/Track Review Lighthouse
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Kill The Boy CD/LP/Track Review Kill The Boy
by Chris Mosey
Published: December 16, 2017
Read Rain or Shine CD/LP/Track Review Rain or Shine
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 15, 2017
Read "Living Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Living Tribute
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 27, 2017
Read "Nightfall" CD/LP/Track Review Nightfall
by John Kelman
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn" CD/LP/Track Review Satin Doll – A Tribute to Billy Strayhorn
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 23, 2017
Read "The Spirit Of Piteşti" CD/LP/Track Review The Spirit Of Piteşti
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 17, 2017
Read "Sounding Tears" CD/LP/Track Review Sounding Tears
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 16, 2017
Read "Kansas City Here I Come" CD/LP/Track Review Kansas City Here I Come
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: February 10, 2017

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!