In Berkeley: A Jazz Convergence with Professor Hafez Modirzadeh

Thursday, May 21, 2015
Photo of Hafez Modirzadeh

BERKELEYSIDE -- Conversations with Hafez Modirzadeh often swerve in unexpected directions. The Iranian-American saxophonist/composer is a confidant of jazz legends like Ornette Coleman and a mentor to cutting-edge stars like Vijay Iyer. Always looking to expand his conceptual framework, he’s created an enthralling body of music that encompasses classical modes from Persian, Arabic and Turkish music and beyond.

A longtime professor of Nusic at San Francisco State where he’s the co-director of Jazz and World Music Studies, Modirzadeh plays an extremely rare East Bay concert 8pm Friday at the California Jazz Conservatory with pianist Mark Levine, bassist John Wiitala and drummer Akira Tana.

An SF State student of Modirzadeh’s, Iranian-born percussionist Pezhham Akhavass, will sit in on several pieces during the concert, which will include standards like “What’s New” and blues as well as some original long-metered pieces by the saxophonist.

Photo: Andrew Nozaka