Friday June 19: Two Excellent Client Events in New York City

Vijay Iyer (photo credit: Christopher Drukker)
Vijay Iyer (photo credit: Christopher Drukker)

Friday, June 19 – 8pm (doors 7:30)
VIJAY IYER TRIO performing at Harlem’s Temple M
Vijay Iyer, piano
Stephan Crump, bass
Marcus Gilmore, drums

555 West 141st Street (East of Broadway)
New York, NY 10031
Subways: 1 train to 137 & Broadway (City College) or A/B/C/D to 145 & St-Nicholas

Vijay Iyer has been fortunate to stay fairly active as the leader of his working trio this year – various US venues and festivals, a European tour, and a studio recording, titled Historicity, due out this October on the German label ACT Records, with distribution in the US by Allegro.

Vijay will share his latest findings with New York audiences, playing at a vibrant new uptown spot called Temple M.

Check out a full-length trio concert Vijay’s Trio did in Amsterdam last February, recorded for Dutch radio. (Requires appropriate media player, as well as your patience through a brief Dutch-language preamble and interlude. 2 sets!)

Also check out this nice feature article in this Friday’s New York Times about trio drummer Marcus Gilmore (grandson of Roy Haynes), along with Vijay’s Fieldwork colleague and Fully Altered client Tyshawn Sorey, Dan Weiss, Kendrick Scott and Justin Faulkner, who according to Times critic Ben Ratliff, are all “finding new ways to look at the drum set, and at jazz itself.”


Amir Elsaffar & Hafez Modirzadeh at The Jazz Gallery in December 2008
Amir Elsaffar & Hafez Modirzadeh at The Jazz Gallery in December 2008

ALSO Friday, June 19 – 9:00 PM
Amir ElSaffar/Hafez Modirzadeh Quartet – Expansions on the Maqam and Dastgah

Amir ElSaffar – trumpet
Hafez Modirzadeh – saxophone
Mark Dresser – double bass
Alex Cline – drums

Alwan for the Arts
16 Beaver Street (between Broad and Broadway), 4th floor
New York, NY 10004
cover: $15
phone: (646) 732-3261

A Destined Collaboration: Amir ElSaffar and Hafez Modirzadeh, each of mixed heritage (Iraqi American and Iranian American, respectively) whose musical careers are dedicated to expressing their ancestral traditions within a highly personalized and creative jazz language, have now teamed together to articulate a unprecedented form of music with serious forward-looking potential. ElSaffar, originally from Chicago, has spent years traveling abroad seeking out masters who could impart to him the Iraqi maqam tradition, and composed the highly acclaimed Two Rivers suite (released in 2007 on Pi Recordings), his first major work joining maqam with contemporary improvised music. Hafez, based in the San Francisco Bay area and fifteen years Amir’s senior, had spent years under the guidance of Iranian master musician, Mahmoud Zoufounoun, learning the Iranian counterpart to maqam, known as dastgah. By 1992, Hafez had developed his own “chromodal” approach to intercultural musical practice, which allows for the co-existence of multiple traditions within one cohesive system, and has since composed a large body of uncompromisingly original work that adapts Persian tuning into a variety of musical contexts.

ElSaffar and Modirzadeh were aware of each other for a number of years, thanks to mutual friends such as Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa, who repeatedly talked to each about the other. Amir was first exposed to Hafez’s music when Iyer played him In Chromodal Discourse (first released in 1993 on Asian Improv Records) in 2001, and knew immediately that Hafez was someone he would like to make music with. Finally, in late 2008, Fred Ho brought Hafez and Amir together for his own big band recording session in New York, and the chemistry was immediate. Fortunately, Amir had a performance the following evening at the Jazz Gallery, and Hafez was able to join his quartet for the engagement.

This left ElSaffar with the determination to travel to the West Coast a few months later to develop concepts with Modirzadeh, where intense practice together over a 10-day period led to a collaboration on four performances, the most notable of which was at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles. There, joined by world-renowned bassist Mark Dresser and master drummer, Alex Cline, all four musicians were left enthused and anxious for another chance to play together. The opportunity has come, sooner than expected, as Dresser and Cline will be joining ElSaffar and Modirzadeh for a performance at Alwan for the Arts, a Middle Eastern Cultural Center located in Manhattan’s financial district on June 19th.

The group will be performing new and original material that weaves through the tonal spectra of Iraqi maqam, Persian dastgah, and contemporary jazz, exploring concepts of sound generated by the timeless modes of expression that seek to expand human spirit.

For more information, please call or email us at 215-921-4447 or info [at]

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