Oran's Bio

Oran Etkin at GRAMMY Awards 2011 & 2012: read more

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At Birdland in New York


At GRAMMY Awards With Esperanza Spalding

With Gonzalo Rubalcaba At Jazz Festival In Belgium

You're Listening To NY Times Critic Ben Ratliff Discuss Oran Etkin on WBGO Radio:

Read The Press Release For Etkin's New CD "Gathering Light" on Motema Music

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. 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 newest album, Gathering Light, is set to be released April 8th 2014 on Motema Music and features his trio with Nasheet Waits and Ben Allison plus guests Lionel Loueke and Curtis Fowlkes. Etkin interweaves his fresh and adventurous compositions with melodies and rhythms he discovered on recent concert tours in Indonesia, China, Japan, Israel and Europe. Etkin's music emanates from an openness to discovery in the world, in himself and within his music. On Gathering Light Etkin digs deep, taking inspiration from the depths of the jazz tradition that he grew up with, the New Orleans roots that inspired him to play, and ancient sources from around the world, to create venturesome music that pushes the art form in new directions. From the opening bass clarinet notes of "Gambang Suling" (Etkin's homage to Indonesian musicians who taught him this folk song), to the tender closing clarinet notes of "When It's Sleepy Time Down South" ("played in thanks for the man who first sparked my love of music, Louis Armstrong," said Etkin), this adventurous, intrepid artist reveals a depth of musicianship, character, and gratitude that is massively appealing.

Etkin is also the creator of the Timbalooloo method of teaching music to young children that has gained popularity in New York, LA and Paris 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, Clarinet! 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!

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".

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. His music classes are now offered throughout New York City and have been attended by over 500 students. Etkin has also taken his educational method on tour, enabling families throughout the US to participate in his classes. Etkin is also a faculty member of the Brooklyn Conservatory and Washington Market School.

Harvey Keitel and Daphna Kastner Keitel, who enrolled their son in Etkin's Timbalooloo Music Classes for three years, remarked that he "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."

After the release of Kelenia, his critically acclaimed album for adults, Oran turned his attention to creating a CD for children called Wake Up, Clariet!, which has already won awards from the Parents Choice Foundation, NAPPA and the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal. The CD features Jason Marsalis from New Orleans on drums, Fabian Almazan from Cuba on piano, Curis Fowlkes from Brooklyn on trombone, and Garth Stevenson from Canada on bass. Etkin, who is originally from Israel, plays clarinet, saxophone and sings alongside acclaimed vocalist Charnee Wade. Etkin is also in the process of adapting his method into a series of children's books and is in the early stages of developing a pilot for a children's TV show based on this method.

Etkin's music has also been featured on several compilation CDs, including Putumayo Kids Jazz Playground, 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 GRAMMY Award Winning Album "All About Bullies, Big And Small", which features two tracks composed and performed by Oran Etkin.

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.

Kelenia Wins An IMA!       Oran On Putumayo CD & Concerts  

Daily News Feature Article   NY Times Review of Oran Etkin's Kelenia