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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Hafez Modirzadeh - Bemsha Allegria (self-published, 2007) ***½

Hafez Modirzadeh is a San Francisco-based saxophonist of Iranian origin and with a very specific approach to music. He created his own "chromodal" scale, built around traditional Persian music and jazz scales. For those interested, you can have a look at his website, where he explains the whole concept. For those wanting a quick glance, you can click here to get an idea. To make matters even a little more complicated, he adds some flamenco ingredients into the music on this CD, accompanied by Spanish musicians Pancho Branas on drums, cajon, percussion, Juan Masana on electric bass and Jesus Hernandez on piano. Despite all the theoretical complexities and Modirzadeh's desire to knock the listener out with his technical approach, the music sounds simple, sensitive, sensual even. His takes on Monk, Coltrane and Mingus are really well-done, yet his approach really gets its full effect on his own compositions. I like his tone, his sense of melody and the emotional aspects of his playing. His best album so far remains "People's Blues", on which his Persian melodiousness is fully integrated in jazz with great effect.

Listen to and download from CDBaby