AMIR ELSAFFAR

Amir ElSaffar (born 1977 in Chicago, Illinois) is an American jazz trumpeter and vocalist. His compositions combine jazz, classical, and traditional Arabic music.

ElSaffar has created new techniques to play microtones and ornaments that are idiomatic to Arab music but are not typically heard on the trumpet. As a composer, ElSaffar has used the microtones found in maqam music to create a unique approach to harmony and melody.

In 2002 he began studying the maqam tradition of music composition in Baghdad and London, with Hamid al-Saadi, one of the most renowned maqam singers in Iraq and is currently an acknowledged performer of the classical Iraqi maqam tradition. He performs actively as a vocalist and santur player with his group, Safaafir, the only ensemble in the US performing Iraqi Maqam in its traditional format.

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