Welcome to the Arabic Jazz blog!

Ahlan wa sahlan!

Welcome to my blog. I've created this blog to share information and news about music that mixes elements of jazz and Arabic music. I'll also share scores and transcriptions etc. for musicians.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Amir ElSaffar

Iraqi-American trumpeter, santour player, vocalist, and composer Amir ElSaffar grew up in River Forest, IL, a suburb west of Chicago; he was first exposed to jazz recordings by his father, and his mother taught him to sing and play American folk songs on ukulele and guitar when he was nine. He eventually found his calling with the trumpet
After moving to New York in 2000, he became more involved with studying the Arab and specifically Iraqi maqam. In 2002, ElSaffar immersed himself in the music of his father's ancestral past, the Iraqi maqam. He traveled to Iraq, throughout the Middle East and to Europe pursuing masters who could impart to him this centuries-old oral tradition. He learned to play the santour (Iraqi hammered dulcimer) and to sing, and now leads Safaafir, the only ensemble in the US performing Iraqi Maqam in its traditional format. He has also uses techniques for the trumpet that enable microtones and ornaments that are characteristic to Arabic music but are not typically heard on a trumpet.

The record Two Rivers is ElSaffar's clearest mixing of jazz and Arabic music.

Amir ElSaffar: trumpet, voice, santoor
Rudresh Mahanthappa: alto sax
Zafer Tawil: violin, oud, dumbek
Tareq Abboushi: buzuq, frame drums
Carlo Rosa: bass
Nasheet Waits: drums.

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