October 26th, 2008
Amir playing the santoor. With the oud, trumpet and sax it was an international music that sounded fresh to my ears.
Iraqi-American trumpeter, vocalist, and santoor (hammered dulcimer) player Amir ElSaffar has brought the microtonality and ornamentalism of traditional maqam music into modern jazz settings. An accomplished jazz and classical musician, ElSaffar put his New York career on hold in 2002 in order to immerse himself in the urban-classical vocal tradition of Iraq.
Inspired by his studies, he crafts stunning, genre-bending music that not only bridges two worlds, but also charts the course for international jazz in the 21st century. In response to Two Rivers, ElSaffar’s first album as a leader, NPR’s Patrick Jarenwattananon raves, “Like the best jazz, this music celebrates the ability of great musicians to imagine unfamiliar territory and navigate it in a way that makes for both intuitive understanding and compelling listening.”
Tonight, ElSaffar’s internationalism bears intense, arresting fruit with two New York jazz stars: saxophonist Rudresh Mahanthappa and drummer Nasheet Waits.
Click here for the complete schedule for the rest of the upcoming shows at the 2008 Earshot Jazz Festival
Photograph by editorial photographer Daniel Sheehan a photojournalist who specializes in portrait photography and photojournalism for publications and corporations. He is also a Seattle wedding photographer photographing weddings with a subtle, unobtrusive, story-telling approach creating artistic documentary photography ranking him as one of the best Seattle wedding photographers.