Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Kaplan, Ori, baritone and alto saxophones; b. Tel Aviv, Israel, 1 October 1969. At age 11 Ori was exposed to the clarinet teaching of klezmer and classical teachers in Jaffa. Instead, he chose to play with DXM, a sampler driven underground Tel Aviv band. Kaplan immigrated to the US in 1991. After completing his Mannes College (NYC) BFA degree In 1996 he formed his "Trio Plus" with Tom Abbs on tuba and bass and Geoff Mann on drums and began developing his skills as a composer and band leader and maturing into his own personal voice on the saxophone. Later in 1999, Kaplan formed a quartet with the members of Trio Plus with the addition of Steve Swell on trombone. In 1997, he also joined William Parker's Little Huey Orchestra and a number of other avant jazz projects related to the Knitting Factory and the Vision Festival (with Karen Borca, Alan Silva, Visions Orchestra). He maintains involvement with Jump Arts, voted "Best Arts Collective" by the New York Press 2000 and plays in festivals including Vision Fest, Texaco Fest, Bell Atlantic Fest and European venues and festivals.
He joined the rock band Firewater in 1998 and toured the U.S. and Europe. During the same time period, he formed his own "Ori Kaplan Percussion Ensemble" with Susie Ibarra and Geoff Mann on percussion and Andrew Bemkey (most notably of Reggie Workman's band) on piano. Drawing from Middle Eastern, Asian and southern U.S. aesthetics, this ensemble's varying cultural influences infuse the music with fresh dialogue and innovative improvisation.
He received the Jerome Foundation Scholarship for Young Jazz Composers 2001. He joined the acclaimed band Gogol Bordello. Self described as Gypsy Punk Cabaret, Gogol has played at the 2001 Central Park Summer Stage alongside Manu Chao and is a part of the Whitney Museum 2002 Biennial and the Tate Modern (July 18th London). He has also collaborated and recorded with: Susie Ibarra (Kaplan/Ibarra featured at the Whitney Museum Soundcheck series) Speedball Baby, Firewater, Big Lazy, J.U.F., Victoria Hanna, John Zorn, Vision Orchestra, William Parker, Roy Campbell and many others. He formed his Shaat'nez Band joined with Andrew Bemkey, Geoff Mann, Adam Roberts on Bass, Marcus Rojas on Tuba and Tamir Muskat (Big Lazy) on Drums. The band explores Jewish, Middle Eastern, and Gypsy traditions through a contemporary looking glass (Le Magus - Knitting Factory Works 307 KFW). Also coming up is "Parlour Allstars" a collective with Stephen Ulrich (guitar) and Tamir Muskat - drums (of Big Lazy) and Itamar Ziegler- Bass - a more broken sound of avant-blues and slide guitar baritone sax flowing lines.
In the last decade in NYC, Ori recorded 5 releases as a leader for NY's premier downtown new music labels while playing with some of the best NYC bands as a collaborator. Kaplan received the Jerome award for Young Jazz Composers 2001. He joined the band Gogol Bordello. Self described as Gypsy Punk Cabaret, Gogol has spearheaded the Eastern European cultural revolution taking place in NYC. He's played with Firewater since '98.The band is led by ex Cop Shoot Cop front man Tod A. He has also collaborated and recorded with: Susie Ibarra (Kaplan/Ibarra featured at the Whitney Museum Soundcheck series) Speedball Baby, Big Lazy, J.U.F., Victoria Hanna, John Zorn, Vision Orchestra, William Parker, and many others. He formed his Shaat'nez Band joined with Andrew Bemkey, Geoff Mann, Adam Roberts, Marcus Rojas on Tuba and Tamir Muskat (Big Lazy) on Drums. The band explores Jewish, Middle Eastern, and Gypsy traditions through a contemporary looking glass. The Shaat'nez evolved into the more electric Shot'nez - a collective with Stephen Ulrich (guitar) and Tamir Muskat - drums (both of Big Lazy) and Itamar Ziegler- Bass.
In a duo collaboration with Tamir Muskat Called Balkan Beat Box, Muskat and Kaplan combine electronic music mixed with hard core folk music from north Africa, Middle East and the Balkans. Kaplan has performed with the above projects around the world constantly in the last 6 years.
Ori Kaplan Shaat'nez Band: Le Magus; William Parker's Little Huey: Mayor Of Punkville; Ori Kaplan Trio Plus: Realms; Cries of Disillusion; Goldshmidt; Ori Kaplan 4tet (Trio Plus Steve Swell): Delirium; Ori Kaplan Percussion Ensemble with Susie Ibarra: Gongol; Gogol Bordello: Multi Kontra Culti; Firewater: Man on the Burning Tightrope; Gogol Bordello VS. Tamir Muskat: JUF; Balkan Beat Box: BBB