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As NYC and the world woke up to the results of an election, we gathered, as always, on Wednesday night, our inclusive, diverse music scene taking on a new meaning. Tomchess and his quartet rose to the occasion and captured the moment with stunning soulful maquam based compositions informed by the free jazz improvisations of of Ornette Coleman and John Coltrane. Hear the beauty and the promise from this set at the Art Cafe.
Tomchess – Oud, Ney Morsing, Composer
Zachary Swanson – Upright Bass
Abraham Faure Mennon – Tenor Sax
Dan Kurfirst – Drums/percussion
NYC based Multi-instrumentalist/improviser/composer Tomchess has played and recorded with some of the heaviest players in the improvisational scene (Dewey Redman, Butch Morris, Pharoah Sanders, Drew Gress, Ronald Shannon Jackson), as well as Morrocan Sintarist Hassan Hakmoun. Having deeply studied the Near Eastern, and North African traditions he incorporated the tonal palette, rhythms, and forms of these traditional musics while never losing sight of his American roots and the importance and freedom of improvising. He has performed in Africa, Canada, Holland, India and Italy. He has performed at Lincoln Center, The David Rubinstein Atrium, The Turkish Embassy, The Pakastani Embassy, the Asian Society, The Natural History Museum, The Metropolitan Museum, The Himalayan Museum of Art and The United Nations among countless other venues in NYC and the United States.
“…Chess is a superfine improviser with total command of his instrument…Chess leads the group through a buoyant assortment of song-forms as they sustain a high level of interest amid a suspenseful sequence of progressions…. They also mix it up in a jazzy sort of way. …one of those magical efforts….They hit all the right spots while kicking out the proverbial jams via a fresh slant that yields gratifying results. ”
-Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz.
Zachary Swanson is a double bassist residing in Brooklyn, NY. Using gut strings and a personalized technique, Zachary has developed a conception of the double bass that heightens the integrity of various musical environments. Zachary attended Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with double bassist Michael Formanek and saxophonist Gary Thomas.
Abraham Mennen is a South African saxophonist, improvisor and composer currently living in New York. He mostly plays free jazz, improvised and experimental music. Abraham has worked with Louis Moholo, William Parker, Joe Morris, John Lockwood, Herbie Tsoaeli, Hamid Drake, Kidd Jordan and many others.
Dan Kurfirst is an NYC based percussionist, composer and improviser. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, His playing incorporates aspects of Middle Eastern, West African and Indian music, while being clearly rooted in the American traditions he grew up with. He regularly performs with top musicians in NYC’s world-music scene including Tomchess, Matt Darriau, Gabriel Marin, Brian Prunka, Brandon Terzic and Kane Maths. Dan currently serves as creative director of the American Sufi Project, a cross cultural, interfaith ensemble dedicated to re-interpreting traditional Sufi music in a modern context.