“A Volcano on the ocean floor”, is written about Oded Tzur in DownBeat magazine. Indeed, depths, fiery heat, and wide horizons characterize Israeli saxophonist and composer whose international career is booming. Tzur cleverly captures the mysteries of life through sound, telling stories through melodies. The emotional depth reflects years of exploration and research, and a unique skill for technique. Tzur has the ability to make the western saxophone slide between the notes, at intervals less than half a ton, embracing the Indian music microtonality. He is the first saxophonist to study with renowned Indian flutist, Hariprased Chaurasia, at the Rotterdam World Music Academy, continuing with a decade-long deep study leading to the construction of a new saxophone technique. Named, A Middle Path, in the spirit of Buddhism, saxophonists from Sydney to San Francisco, from Trinity College of Music in London to the Copenhagen Conservatory have been learning Tzur’s technique and its possibilities. “For a subject that started as a solitary practice and was deemed impossible at first,” says Tzur, “it’s humbling to see the attention and interest the technique has received during the past few years.” Australian composer and saxophonist Sandy Evans notes, “Tzur is the first saxophonist I’ve heard to do what I have long thought was possible, but have been unable to successfully achieve myself: that is to bring the science and artistry of saxophone playing to produce the rounded, beautiful and expressive slides of Indian music.”
The essence of his work, embodied in his quartet, draws together the traditional jazz quartet and the spirit of the East while further exploring relationships between ancient and modern musical traditions. His first two albums have earned his music the title, “A New Type of Swing”, and received outstanding praise in Europe, South Africa, Japan, South America Russia and the United States. Tzur soundly slides his saxophone between notes and melodic realms. Modern jazz with classical Indian music influences evolve into the depths of jazz, exploring the mysteries of time and space. In 2011, in NYC, he set up his quartet that since then has performed around the world, communicating through the mesmerizing language of music improvisation.
The sounds that Tzur produces from his saxophone are truly extraordinary, and Hariprased Chaurasia says, “If a curtain were to be drawn in front of him, no one could tell which instrument was being played.” Titled “one of the great musical thinkers of our time”, Tzur is one of the most exciting artists of Israeli jazz today, and his ability to blend worlds and tell stories is ever so moving. One of the audience of his show last year at the Red Sea winter Jazz Festival described his experience as driving a car on the Tel Aviv Haifa highway at a speed of 10 miles per hour, observing how he saw things he had never seen, noting that on the roadside the most beautiful things can be found.
Oded Tzur Tenor Saxophone
Nintai Hershkovits Piano
Petros Klampanis Bass
Johnathan Blake Drums
Photo by Leandro Couri