The Saman Samadi Quintet: Amber Evans, soprano; Caitlin Cawley, percussion; Martin Movagh, trumpet; Sam Zagnit, double bass; and Saman Samadi, piano. Founded by composer Saman Samadi, an Iranian national with extensive training in both Persian and Western musical traditions. Established in May 2018 and comprised entirely of New York City musicians, alumni from the Manhattan School of Music — all talented performers of wide scope and experience. Their sound was unique, paving new ground between modern jazz and contemporary classical styles. Their signature sounds evoked the newest avant-garde outliers of advanced 21st century compositional work, and embodied an early 20th century songspiel-like lyricism, channelling the rational integrity of Stockhausen, the polyrhythmic world of Reich, the aberrant sounds of Sciarrino, coupled with the expressive freedom of Don Cherry, all the while making a fait accompli of intricate poeticisms a la Rumi or Hafez. Reflecting upon a variety of past musical conventions, sometimes shifting cultural gears, from East to West — using microtones derived from one of the Persian scalar systems — Samadi, had engineered a bit of his own culture into the gambit of what amounts to an international musical collaboration. Amber Evans, the vocalist is an Australian, and Martin Movagh, on trumpet, was brought up in a mixed mid-eastern household, Caitlin Cawley is half-Celtic, and Sam Zgnit is Eastern European in descent — that made this ensemble, 100% fluent in universal musical communication and totally American! Improvisational acumen was both the achievement and goal of this group; if you let them loose, you might never get the genie back into the bottle.
improvisation, avant-garde, jazz, improvised music, video art, multiculturalism