Press

Amir ElSaffar Trumpet“ElSaffar has been esteemed for a new methodology towards the much-maligned world music genre….[he] is a jazz musician first, introducing his ethnicity (Iraqi) as an integrated part of his aesthetic.” – The New York City Jazz Record

“Amir ElSaffar is uniquely poised to reconcile jazz and Arabic music without doing either harm…ElSaffar’s music [is] the result of engagement across the board, presented with clarity and eloquence.” – The Wire

“ElSaffar’s melismatic trumpet lines conveyed tremendous lyric beauty, his phrases bending and twisting in ways that Western ears are not accustomed to hearing… among the most promising figures in jazz today.” – Howard Reich, The Chicago Tribune

“a virtuoso on the horn, but also an imaginative bandleader, expanding the vocabulary of the trumpet and at the same time the modern jazz ensemble.” – David R. Adler, All About Jazz


On Crisis:

“★★★★★…what ElSaffar is doing on Crisis is unique in music…from a political and historical vantage point, the task of narrating complex global events through instrumental music is more than challenging. ElSaffar has not only commendably told this personal and globally important story but has produced a masterpiece of a recording in doing so.” – Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz

“★★★★½…ElSaffar continues to be a singular voice in modern music as this record clearly demonstrates. He has gone beyond others in superbly and seamlessly blending Middle Eastern melodies and Jazz…intriguing and captivating” – Hrayr Attarian, All About Jazz


On Alchemy:

Amir El Saffar Alchemy cover

“a rousing amalgamation of propulsive modern jazz and modal lyricism…  a milestone session” – Troy Collins, Point of Departure

“some of the most shimmering, subtle work of ElSaffar’s career.” – Howard Reich, The Chicago Tribune

“It is, at once, modern and ancient—something you’ve heard all your life and something brand new.” – Frank Alkyer, Downbeat Magazine


 On Inana:

Amir ElSaffar Inana Cover

“sincere and investigatory… ★★★★½” – John Corbett, Downbeat Magazine

“thoroughly engaging, sensual, and enlightening…★★★★½” – Allmusic.com

“hypnotic and utterly unique” – Areif Sless-Kitain, TimeOut Chicago

“elegant, meditative, refined, and musically adventurous.” – Wanda Waterman, The Voice Magazine


On Radif Suite:

Amir ElSaffar Radif Suite

“inclusive and compelling” – Bill Meyers, Downbeat

“achieving rare emotional impact” – Stuart Broomer, All About Jazz

“the music is as simply and honestly made as any can be. This is profoundly sad music and profoundly powerful in the strength and clarity with which it expresses itself.” – George Grella, The Big City


On Two Rivers:

Amir ElSaffar Two Rivers Cover

“gorgeous, invigorating, and accessible” – Patrick Jarenwattananon, NPR Music

“harrowing to absorb; full of as much beauty as pain” – Matt Wells, BBC World Service

“hypnotic and arresting” – Karl Stark, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“fresh, deep, intensely performed music… an organic amalgam” – Chris Kelsey, Jazz Times


On Maqams of Baghdad:

Amir ElSaffar Safaafir Maqams of Baghdad

“Music doesn’t get much more intimate than this.” – Tom Strini, Third Coast Digest

“mesmerizing…this trio is an amazing combination of musicians.” – Rick Walters, Express Milwaukee