PASTE MAGAZINE:
How the Newport Jazz Festival Reminded People to Dance

PASTE MAGAZINE: How the Newport Jazz Festival Reminded People to Dance

BY GEOFFREY HIMES

"But the two best sets I heard all weekend were the big-band performances of Amir ElSaffar’s Rivers of Sound Orchestra and the Maria Schneider Orchestra.

ElSaffar, an Iraqi-American born in Chicago, weaves Middle Eastern themes and instruments into their North American counterparts with astonishing success. To hear ouds played with a vibraphone or a frame-drum with a drum kit or a bouzouki with a clarinet would be beguiling enough, but ElSaffar’s melodic themes and harmonic development would be seductive with any instrumentation."

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