The Two Rivers Ensemble
The Two Rivers Ensemble is a sextet of jazz and Middle Eastern musicians that has made innovative strides in in using the maqam modal system to transform the jazz idiom. The ensemble features Nasheet Waits, Carlo DeRosa, Tareq Abboushi, Zafer Tawil, and Ole Mathisen. The latest work with this ensemble was commissioned by the Newport Jazz Festival and premiered there in August 2013. The piece, entitled The Crisis Suite, is now available in the ensemble’s latest album Crisis (2015).
Rivers Of Sound Large Ensemble
Rivers of Sound presents 17 musicians from a broad spectrum of traditions, from Iraqi maqam to American jazz. Using resonance as its governing principle, the music incorporates elements of maqam modal music of the Middle East with jazz and other contemporary musical practices to create a unique microtonal musical environment that moves beyond the notions of style and tradition into a realm of uninhibited musical communication. As pitches and rhythms become fluid, so do cultural boundaries: elements that traditionally divide musicians and genre-specific modes are re-contextualized in a fresh transcultural soundscape.
The Amir ElSaffar Quintet
The Amir ElSaffar Quintet is the latest chapter in trumpeter Amir ElSaffar’s continuing investigation into the tonal systems of the Arab world and Middle East within a jazz context. The quintet’s debut album, Alchemy, was released in 2013 to critical acclaim. The ensemble features John Escreet, Francois Moutin, Dan Weiss, and Ole Mathisen.
Safaafir is the only US-based ensemble dedicated to performing the Iraqi maqam. The trio is led by siblings Dena and Amir ElSaffar. In addition to presenting the maqam in its traditional format, Safaafir incorporates jazz, classical and other middle eastern styles to create a highly unique and personalized sound.