Hafez Modirzadeh

In Chromodal Discourse

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Saxophonist Hafiz Modirzadeh is unlike any other player or composer out there. His relationship to the musical hole on his recordings is an approach that carries within it a host of contradictions, especially as it engages Eastern modalism and European chromaticism. This set, which is earmarked by the truly lovely "Tetrapath: Music," (which earmarks the entire proceeding) is a concept on the union of these two pursuits and how they play out, not only in jazz and improvised music, but in the languages folk musics, and how they inform and engage one another through the general vision of cultures and the particular gaze of musicians. His quintet that includes drummer Royal Hartigan, guitarist Timothy Volpicella, bassist Ken Filiano, and guests such as Ramin Zoufonon on piano and Sharam Kazemi on dumbek, is well versed in the spatial orientation of Modirzadeh's composition and approach to the inclusion of improvisation. This is not that far outside the realm of Ornette Coleman's harmolodics, and the artist was certainly influenced by it, but the individual solos matter less here, and pace -- with its restrained use of tension and ballast -- is emphasized more. Also, the texture of each instrument as it is drawn into the discourse of the group and extends itself in solo is of primary importance. This is a two-act work, which covers so much ground it's dizzying by the end. However, Modirzadeh does so in such a lyrical and sensuous way, and it becomes a joy to have been overwhelmed by such a singular work of art. This man is a composer to watch.

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