Amir ElSaffar & the Two Rivers Ensemble | Green Mill | Jazz | Chicago Reader

Amir ElSaffar & the Two Rivers Ensemble Recommended Soundboard

When: 2009

Anyone who’s been following my writing in the Reader knows how impressed I am by Amir ElSaffar. The former Chicagoan, who plays trumpet and santoor and also sings, has forged a stunning hybrid of postbop and Iraqi maqam—his 2007 album Two Rivers (Pi) was a genuine paradigm shifter, and even now I still discover fresh nuances every time I listen to it. The excellent sextet that made the record played in town last summer, but only as the core of a 15-piece big band fleshed out by locals from the jazz and Arabic-music scenes. This weekend ElSaffar is finally giving that lean working ensemble its Chicago debut; it’ll be a quintet with reedist Rudresh Mahanthappa, bassist Carlo DeRosa, drummer Nasheet Waits, and violinist and oudist Zafer Tawil, since buzuq player and hand percussionist Tareq Abboushi can’t make it. —Peter Margasak

Price: $12

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