Professor Modirzadeh Continues to Reinvent Western Jazz

Thursday, March 25, 2021
Hafez Modirzadeh performing a saxophone
Photo by Radoslaw Kazmierczak

EAST BAY TIMES/BAY AREA NEWS GROUP -- 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.

While he only features three other players on “Facets,” Modirzadeh has been exploring the body of music with an array of players over the last three years, including Art Hirahara, Myra Melford, Dahveed Beherozi and Dee Spencer, his former music department faculty-mate at San Francisco State.