Ofer Assaf
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Ofer Assaf

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Jazz Funk


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"Ofer Assaf - Tangible Reality"

The powerhouse Israeli tenorman Ofer Assaf brings an aggressively swinging edge to his playing alongside New Yorkers Jim Rotondi on trumpet, bassists Don Pate and Essiet Essiet, drummer Bruce Cox and underrated pianist Theo Hill. They come out of the gate charging hard on Assaf’s uptempo burner “Kingfisher 51,” and the energy level doesn’t let up from there. Whether it’s the majestic Billy Harper tribute “The Archer,” the Michael Brecker tribute “Blues for MB,” or the Trane-inspired “Tame the Wild Beast,” Asaf plays with conviction and clarity while also revealing a breathy ballad touch on “The Nearness of You.” Highly recommended.

By Bill Milkowski - JazzTimes Magazine

"Ofer Assaf - Tangible Reality"

Ofer Assaf is a tenor-saxophonist with a passionate tone and an adventurous style. One of several important Israeli jazz musicians who have moved to New York, Assaf has created an impressive debut recording that is full of fire and warmth.
While John Coltrane's spirit is an inspiration, the young saxophonist has his own sound and never merely copies the past. Trumpeter Jim Rotondi is a major asset on three selections. Otherwise the music on Tangible Reality is performed by a quartet that has either Theo Hill or Klaus Mueller on piano, Don Pate or Essiet Essiet on bass, and drummer Bruce Cox. Assaf contributed six originals which are consistently stirring and challenging including the hard-driving “Kingfisher 51,” a tribute to Michael Brecker (“Blues For MB”) and the well-titled “Tame The Wild Beast.” He also comes up with fresh versions of “The Nearness Of You” and “Body And Soul,” showing his connection to the tradition while still sounding like himself.
This is a fine set that is well worth checking out.

By Scott Yanow - LA Jazz Scene Magazine

"Ofer Assaf: Tangible Reality"

Israeli-born, tenor saxophonist Ofer Assaf, who is now New York-based, looks every bit the modern jazz man on the cover of Tangible Reality. He's got the shades, the beret-style hat worn backwards, and—truth in advertising—he's also got the modern jazz man goods.

A big percentage of young mainstream jazz artists try to take the "Miles Davis second great quintet" tangent to make themselves sound cutting edge. Assaf seems more of a mind to craft his own voice, in terms of ensemble sound and his own individual approach to the saxophone.

The leader's "Kingfisher 51" opens the set on an edgy groove, built on Bruce Cox's frenetic drumming. The flame is turned up high, and Assaf sears the air with an incendiary solo leading into trumpeter Jim Rotundi's solo. Rotundi keeps the heat on with his turn, before pianist Theo Hill maintains the high energy atmosphere when the horns back off.

It's mostly a high octane affair, with six of the eight tunes from the leader's pen. The title cut is full of surprises, with Rotundi and Assaf in a contest to see who can walk the higher wire on their solos, with the saxophone growling into a Dewey Redman direction.

Assaf also shows a great respect for the tradition, with a clean, beautiful take on the classic "The Nearness of You." The saxophonist closes with a nod to Coleman Hawkins on the legendary "Body and Soul," taking the classic in the direction of the edge without quite going there, putting his own distinctive stamp on the tune.

The way to break from the pack is by developing one's own voice. Ofer Assaf surges ahead on Tangible Reality.

- All About Jazz


Tangible Reality - Summit Records 2008 - USA

KAMAFRA Live - Edition Musikat 2002 - Germany

D>tour - Leave a message - Templar Records 2005 - USA



Ofer Assaf is a jazz saxophonist and composer. Born in Israel, Ofer Assaf's exposure to music began with the recorder at the age of 6. While attending the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts, Ofer divided his time between his passions of music and dance. He was dancing professionally for several years, but eventually decided to focus on music as his career.

Ofer's love of creating music led him to excel in the saxophone, and he went on to win the Israeli National Competition in Jazz and Contemporary Music for young musicians in 1991. After completing high school, Ofer was a saxophonist with the Air Force and IDF Orchestras in the israeli army to fulfill his mandatory national service. During that time, he had the privilege to perform at monumental events for world leaders, including former President Bill Clinton, and former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. His career in Israel explored a myriad of musical avenues, including performing at nation-wide events. Ofer played for the 3000th anniversary celebration of Jerusalem with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and a diverse array of national television and radio shows. He went on to perform with leading Israeli musicians, becoming a prominent local musician and a member of the Tel Aviv Big Band in the mid-1990's.

Eager to expand his musical skills, Ofer moved to New York in 1998 and immersed himself in his studies at the New School University's jazz program, where he studied under the direction of Billy Harper, Reggie Workman, Richie Beirach to name a few. While pursuing his degree, Ofer received several scholarships and awards from the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.

Since graduating in 2002, Ofer has performed with a wide range of artists. He has had the privilege to play with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, with whom he shared a stage in Carnegie Hall as part of the JVC jazz festival. In addition, Ofer has had the great fortune of playing with legendary bassist Reggie Workman. Ongoing stints included Alex Skolnick (Skol-Patrol), the Latin Jazz groups of Hymie Rivera and Omar Alexander and also the Bachanalia string ensemble. He toured Europe with a modern jazz quintet, Kamafra, and subsequently released a live album, "Kamafra Live."
Ofer has also performed with Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell, Adam Holzman, Vernon Reid, Ron McClure, Victor Jones, Keith Carlock, John Lee, Francis Mbappe, Joe Cuba, Arturo O'Farrell, Will Calhoun, Reggie Washington, Rick Sebastian, David Gilmore, Dennis Davis and others.

Ofer’s debut album, “Tangible Reality”, was released on Summit Records, featuring trumpeter Jim Rotondi, bassists Don Pate and Essiet Essiet, and drummer Bruce Cox.

It was pre-nominated for the 2009 Grammy Awards in the category of Best Jazz
Instrumental album.