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Oran Etkin, clarinet and saxophone
International Jazz Discussion and Live Music Series
Through years of experience in a myriad of musical cultures, Oran Etkin has developed a unique sound on the clarinet, bass-clarinet and saxophone that draws on ancient traditions from Africa, Israel, New Orleans and beyond, yet resonates with the driving energy of the current New York jazz scene. This makes him the perfect addition to our month-long discussion on cross cultural collaboration and world music “infiltration” into jazz.
Oran Ektin has been described as a “great clarinet player” and “an excellent improviser” by the New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff and a “composer of eminent individuality” by his mentor and teacher, the legendary Yusef Lateef. Etkin’s music has been recognized with a GRAMMY Award (for the compilation All About Bullies which includes 2 of Oran’s tracks) and two Independent Music Awards (“Best World Beat Album” for Kelenia and “Best Children’s Album” for Wake Up, Clarinet). He has performed around the world with musicians ranging from guitarist Mike Stern and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba to rapper Wyclef Jean.
Oran Etkin’s debut album Kelenia (Motema Music), fuses traditional Malian and Jewish music with modern jazz creating what the Boston Globe dubbed a “hypnotic balance between straight-ahead jazz and world music”. Kelenia won “Best World Beat Album” at the Independent Music Awards. The CD features Oran’s working group with Malian griot musicians Balla Kouyate, Makane Kouyate and bassist Joe Sanders as well as guests including vocalist Abdoulaye Diabate, Grammy Award Winning artists Lionel Loueke and John Benitez and even a string quartet on one track. The resulting sound is a reflection of Oran’s musical personality rooted in jazz but shaped by the many musical worlds that Oran is a part of in New York, including African, Jewish, Haitian and New Orleans music. Even before its release, Kelenia debuted at # 10 on the nationwide radio charts and All Music Guide has declared that Oran “sets a new standard for world music in the decade of the 2000s”.
Etkin is also a faculty member of the Brooklyn Conservatory and Washington Market School.
Oran has performed at NYC’s Central Park SummerStage, Blue Note, Festival Jazz De Liege, Skirball Center in Los Angeles, NJPAC, Sunset-Sunside in Paris, Tel Aviv Jazz Festival, the United Nations and numerous other venues in the US, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East with musicians including Jason Marsalis, Wycliffe Gordon, Lionel Loueke, Mike Stern, Mandingo Ambassadors, Airto Moreira, Toumani Diabate, Killah Priest (of the Wu-Tang Clan) and Wyclef Jean.