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Oded Tzur puts forth some of the most engaging music on ECM debut; Here Be Dragons / JAZZ VIEWS w/CJ

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Last year when ECM celebrated it's 50th Anniversary, one of the most striking aspects was the it's invested interest in Israeli musicians.  The label has been instrumental in bringing to international attention Scandinavian artists, such as legends like Jan Garbarek, Arild Andersen, Nils Petter Molvaer, Swiss artists like multi instrumentalist Stephan Micus, North African artists and also representing New York with veterans such as Billy Hart, the influential tenor of Mark Turner, and pianist Ethan Iverson.  The Israeli contingent including Anat Fort, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, and now with tenor saxophonist Oded Tzur has put forth some of the most consistently engaging music over the past few years, and with Tzur's ECM debut Here Be Dragons, the lyrical saxophonist continues to hone his individual voice. Tzur's singular voice on tenor saxophone is partly achieved by his interest in studies of Indian classical music with bansuri maestro Hariprasad Chaurasia, who greatly influenced his tone.  Tzur takes structural inspiration from the time tested, treacherous raga form, from which the spirit of adventure throughout this music originates. The qualities of Indian classical music that Tzur found endearing are fused with his Israeli upbringing, bringing forth a fascinating concoction.  The music, also inspired by Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi's participation on a pirate ship in search of dragons adds to it's alluring qualities.

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