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."