On New Album, Professor Modirzadeh Continues to Reinvent Western Jazz

Professor Modirzadeh playing saxophone

Music professor’s new album “sounds like an eerie dreamscape glimpsed through a swirling glass of water,” East Bay Times writes.

Written by ANDREW GILBERT | Correspondent for East Bay Times

Taken by itself, Hafez Modirzadeh’s new album “Facets” is a work of audacious ambition that invites some of North America’s most celebrated improvisers into strange and uncharted musical terrain.

Featuring a series of Modirzadeh compositions that pair the San Jose tenor saxophonist with Kris Davis, Craig Taborn and Tyshawn Sorey on a piano with eight strings tuned down and the remainder left in equal temperament, the March 5 release on Pi Records sounds like an eerie dreamscape glimpsed through a swirling glass of water.

He included several spontaneous solo piano improvisations and pieces inspired by Bach (“Goldberg Variations No. 25”) and Thelonious Monk (“Pannonica” and “Ask Me Now”). But the album focuses on Modirzadeh’s original “Facets,” compositions that distill a harmonic vocabulary based on classical Persian modes that he’s been exploring for some three decades.

A key collaborator with Modirzadeh since the early 1990s, pianist Vijay Iyer writes in the liner notes that the piano preparation doesn’t just alter the eight strings, it sparks a transformation that “radically remaps all of the instrument’s inner resonances.”

Read the entire story on the East Bay Times website