"Downtown Avengers" Series back for third performance featuring trumpeter Amir Elsaffar
(Published: November 15, 2013)
(New York, NY - November 7, 2013) The "Downtown Avengers" Series, organized by violinist Fung Chern Hwei (Sirius Quartet) is back for its 3rd performance since its inauguration in late August, this time bearing the title "Revenge of the Downtown Avengers". The performance will be featuring virtuoso trumpeter Amir Elsaffar, pianist Vicky Chow (Bang on a Can All-Stars), tube player Ben Stapp, saxophonist/multi-instrumentalist Rob Mosher, and vocalist Lola Danza.
The idea of "Downtown Avengers" kicked off when Mr. Fung and Ms. Chow wanted to get together and play a completely improvised set, while thinking it would make things more interesting if they invited more players to join them, without prior meeting or rehearsals. The result was a Downtown-star-studded spontaneous extravaganza that includes the likes of cellist Erik Friedlander, drummer/percussionist Stomu Takeishi, pipaist Min Xiao-Fen, bassist Ken Filiano and more, with the title "Gathering of the Downtown Avengers". Every player has his very unique image, individual sound and skills, that it almost echoes superhero characters from comic books, thus the title. Since then, Fung decided to turn it into a series and keep inviting different musicians to gather and play. In their second show held in Brooklyn's ShapeShifter Lab, they featured wonders like clarinetists Oran Etkin and Jeremiah Cymerman, trumpeter Stephanie Richards (Asphalt Orchestra, vice president of Festival of New Trumpet), among others.
In this third installment of this series, "Revenge of the Downtown Avengers", Fung has invited Amir Elsaffar, a trumpeter that developed a special set of microtonal vocabulary that he derived from the Middle Eastern scale system, known as Maqam. His unique approach to harmony and melody has made him an important voice in an age of cross-cultural music making. To study the unique tonal system, he went on a five-year journey, traveling to Iraq, throughout the Middle East, and to Europe, pursuing masters who could impart to him this centuries-old oral tradition. Mr. Elsaffar has recently released a new album, titled Alchemy (Pi Recordings, 2013), immediately received critical acclaim from the National Public Radio (link here: http://www.npr.org/2013/11/04/242958528/amir-elsaffar-navigates-uncharted-blue-notes-on-alchemy), which also features drummer Dan Weiss, saxophonist Ole Mathisen, pianist John Escreet, and bassist Francois Moutin.
More Information: http://www.shapeshifterlab.com