Join us for a Masterclass conversation-performance hosted by vocalist Helga Davis and National Sawdust co-founder Paola Prestini who will be joined by the multi-instrumental jazz/classical/Arab-traditional performance innovator and trumpeter Amir ElSaffar. The trio will discuss the technique and purposes of musical fusion, how they choose which wells they draw from to best realize their work and the role of the modern cosmopolitan artist in a post-COVID world.
Composer, trumpeter, santur player, and vocalist Amir ElSaffar has been described as “uniquely poised to reconcile jazz and Arabic music,” (The Wire) and “one of the most promising figures in jazz today” (Chicago Tribune). A recipient of the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award and a 2018 US Artist Fellow, ElSaffar is an expert trumpeter with a classical background, conversant not only in the language of contemporary jazz, but has created techniques to play microtones and ornaments idiomatic to Arabic music that are not typically heard on the trumpet. Additionally, he is a purveyor of the centuries old, now endangered, Iraqi maqam tradition, which he performs actively as a vocalist and santur player. As a composer, ElSaffar has used the subtle microtones found in Iraqi maqam music to create an innovative approach to harmony and melody, and has received commissions to compose for large and small jazz ensembles, traditional Middle Eastern ensembles, chamber orchestras, string quartets, and contemporary music ensembles, as well as dance troupes.
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Performances are free, but we would love to keep in touch. We will provide artist lineups, updates on scheduling, and resources to accompany the performances. We will NOT share your information with anyone else.