ORAN ETKIN'S GATHERING LIGHT
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. His music is featured on several CDs, including a GRAMMY Award winning anti-bullying compilation CD.
Etkin will be bringing his acclaimed Gathering Light project to Pangea Jazz Fest. The eponymous 2014 release with Nasheet Waits, Ben Allison, Lionel Loueke and Curtis Fowlkes interwove Etkin's fresh and adventurous compositions with melodies and rhythms he discovered on his concert tours in Indonesia, China, Japan, Israel and Europe. Etkin has presented Gathering Light at venues including Montreal Jazz Fest, North Sea Jazz Fest, Paris Jazz Fest, London Jazz Fest and New York's Jazz At Lincoln Center.
Etkin's unique sound on the sax, clarinet and bass-clarinet emanates from an openness to discovery in the world, in himself and within his music. The Irish Times observed that "Oran Etkin is a musician with his ears wide open, absorbing influences from West Africa, the Far East and Europe... this is world music in the true sense, not a lazy hybrid but a personal sound born out of deep respect for diverse musical traditions." Indeed deep respect and honest personal musical expression are themes that tie together all of Etkin's work - in composition, performance, recording or his educational work through his Timbalooloo organization.
Oran began piano at the age of 5, violin at 8, saxophone at 9 and clarinet at 13. He began studying with renowned saxophonist George Garzone at age 14 and later with Yusef Lateef. He studied classical clarinet and composition as an undergraduate and received a Masters in Jazz Performance at the Manhattan School of Music, where he studied with Dave Liebman and Dave Krakauer among others.
Oran continues the tradition of music education through a groundbreaking new method of teaching music called Timbalooloo. The popularity of Etkin's educational method has spread through word of mouth and has been endorsed by Harvey Keitel, Naomi Watts, Liev Schreiber, Edie Falco and Ken Burns,- all of whom have enrolled their children in Oran Etkin's Timbalooloo Music Classes. His award winning children's CD Wake Up, Clariet! and the live performances for families literally bring the instruments to life as they become characters in the story of a sleepy clarinet named Clara Net and her mother, Big Mama Tuba!
Harvey Keitel and Daphna Kastner Keitel, who enrolled their son in Etkin's Timbalooloo Music Classes for three years, remarked that Etkin "makes music from all over the world accessible and fun for children to listen to and learn about. From the age of two, our son was talking about Herbie Hancock, Mozart, Samba, and African music - and he knew the difference."
Etkin's music has also been featured on several compilation CDs, including the GRAMMY Award Winning Album "All About Bullies, Big And Small", which features two tracks composed and performed by Oran Etkin; the GRAMMY Nominated album, Healthy Food For Thought, where Etkin's music appears alongside tracks by Russell Simmons, Moby and Sweet Honey In The Rock; and the Parent's Choice Gold Award winning Putumayo Kids Jazz Playground.
Oran is grateful to have had the opportunity to perform around the world with his own groups as well as musicians ranging from guitarist Mike Stern and pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba to rapper Wyclef Jean. Through years of experience in a myriad of musical cultures, 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.
Etkin's new album on Motema Music (Sept 25 2015 release) is "What's New? Reimagining Benny Goodman" - a distinctively modern homage to the legendary "king of swing" and his 1930s quartet with Lionel Hampton, Gene Krupa and Teddy Wilson.