Artist: Amir ElSaffar, Rivers Of Sound
Title: Not Two
Genre: Jazz
Release Date: 2017
Duration: 01:26:24
Quality: High-Fidelity FLAC Stereo 24bit/96kHz
Label: New Amsterdam

Iraqi-American trumpeter, saunter player, vocalist and composer Amir ElSaffar leads his Rivers of Sound Orchestra in a performance of his own Not Two. The result is a new approach to transcultural music as the seventeen musicians create a new musical language through combining contrasting musical traditions, contributing to ElSaffar’s reputation for extending the boundaries of both jazz and Middle Eastern music.

Rivers of Sound: Not Two is a continuation of the Two Rivers concept, but projected onto a wider canvas unprecedented in scope and imagination. Microtonal maqam melodies traverse a richly-textured bed of sound created by oud, buzuk, and santur, in combination with cello, violin, saxophones, English horn and trumpet. Also at play are multilayered, rhythmic patterns and harmonies performed by re-tuned vibraphone, piano and guitar. The drum set, mridangam, dumbek, frame drums and double-bass provide the rhythmic foundation and subdivisions of the multiple currents. Resonance across rhythmic, tonal, and timbral spectra, and across musical traditions, is the guiding principle.

ElSaffar’s music is at once unique and engaging, full of heart and passion. Challenging notions of composition vs. improvisation, tradition vs. modernity, microtonality/modality vs. harmony, his compositions bring to light the universality of music across cultures. Given the catastrophes befalling the people of the Middle Eastern and Arab lands, his music is both timely and urgent as he is preserving elements of these cultures by bringing them into context with contemporary musical forms.


  1. Iftitah – 11:14
  2. Jourjina over Three – 7:14
  3. Penny Explosion – 12:46
  4. Ya Ibni, Ya Ibni (My son, my son) – 12:26
  5. Layl (Night) – 10:40
  6. Hijaz 21/8 – 9:39
  7. Shards of Memory/B Half Flat Fantasy – 16:15
  8. Bayat Declamation – 6:14