Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. J
  11. K
  12. L
  13. M
  14. N
  15. O
  16. P
  17. Q
  18. R
  19. S
  20. T
  21. U
  22. V
  23. W
  24. X
  25. Y
  26. Z

Modirzadeh, Hafez (aka Modir)

Modirzadeh, Hafez (aka Modir), saxophone, composer,educator, author; b. Durham, NC, 3 May 1962.

He lived in Durham from 1962-67, and Marin County, California, from 1968-70. He also lived in Montpellier, France, from 1970-72, and in Tehran, Iran, from 1972-73. He lived in San Jose, California, from 1973-83 when finishing a BA in Music from San Jose State University. He moved to Boston to attend New England Conservatory's MM in Third Stream in Fall of 1983, and then lived in Los Angeles from 1984-86 while completing an MA at UCLA in ethnomusicology. Moved to New York City in 1987, attended Wesleyan University's world music program from 1988-90, in Middletown, Connecticut, completing a PhD in 1992. From 1990-98, he taught at San Jose State University's Improvised Music Studies Program, and from 1998-2003, he has been Assistant Professor at San Francisco State's Jazz and World Music Program. His mother is Joan Quilter (b. 1937) and his father is Jamal Modir (b. 1935), the latter, a Persian drummer. He has a brother, Khayyam Modirzadeh (b. 1961), and a sister Leyla Modirzadeh (b. 1967) In the San Francisco Bay Area from 1977-83, he got informal saxophone lessons from Sonny Stitt, James Moody, Joe Henderson, Sonny Simmons, Paul Contos, Norman Williams. Since 1983, he has studied Persian classical music with Mahmoud Zoufonoun, violinist and tar player. At the New England Conservatory, Boston 1983, he took formal saxophone lessons with Joe Allard, and studied Lydian Chromatic Concept with George Russell and Arranging with Jimmy Giuffre. At UCLA, Los Angeles 1984-86, he studied ethnomusicology with Ali Jihad Racy and Nazir Jairazbhoy.
At Wesleyan, Middletwon 1988-90, he studied West African music with Abraham Adzinyah, South Indian Music with T. Vishwanathan and Ramnad Raghvan, Japanese music with Sumarsam, and conceptual studies with Jon Barlow and Anthony Braxton. Modirzadeh has focused on integrative directions for the practice and education of jazz and world music. On both international and local fronts, he is active in the realms of performing, teaching, recording, publishing, and presenting cross-cultural perspectives regarding musical culture, tradition and innovation, and individual representations thereof. Dr. Modirzadeh received an M.A. from UCLA ('86) and a PhD from Wesleyan ('92), both in ethnomusicology, and continues to develop an interdisciplinary musical approach he calls "Chromodal Discourse". From Tehran to Brown Universities, Chromodal theory has been presented within both musical and scientific academic arenas, most recently acknowledged as a formal subject for the Doctorate of Musical Arts by the University of Madison, Wisconsin (Frey 2002). Modirzadeh's contributing research has been published in such journals as the Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology (1986), Horn Call (1995-96), Music in China (2000), Ethnomusicology (2001),and Black Music Research (2002). Over the last three decades, his work on saxophones and a variety of other reeds has been documented on dozens of creative jazz and world LP/CD releases, listed in the Penguin Guide to Jazz, and in 1999, contributing to a Grammy nomination for Anthony Brown's Asian American Orchestra. Modirzadeh has appeared from the Berlin to Monterey Jazz Festivals, and has performed with such artists as Omar Sosa, Don Cherry, Peter Apfelbaum, Steve Lacy, Fred Ho, Zakir Hussein, Oliver Lake, as well as many on the local San Francisco creative music scene. Dr. Modirzadeh's composed works have been supported by two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships ('89, '91), Other Minds (1998), and the Djerassi Composer's Residency Program (2003), while his educational outreach has been repeatedly funded by California Arts Council Artist in Residency (1996-99).  Through the 90's, he coordinated San Jose State University's Improvised Music Studies Program until joining the music faculty at San Francisco State in 1998 to develop programs in both jazz and world music and dance.

He's married to Yeganeh Modirzadeh (b. 1964, Tehran, Iran) and has two sons: Safa (b. 1991) and Erfan (b. 1993).

In Chromodal Discourse (1993); XDOT25 Jazz Sampler (1996); The Peoples' Blues (1996); Hafez Modirzadeh and Ramin Zoufonoun: The Mystery of Sama (1998); By Any Mode Necessary (1999); Arkadia Jazz Sampler: Out and Out Jazz (2000); Dandelion (2003)
As sideperson:
Fred Ho: We Refuse To Be Used and Abused (1987); Midnight Voices: Midnight Voices (1991); Francis Wong: The Great Wall (1994); Wally Schnalle: It Rhymes (1995); Fred Ho: Underground Railroad to My Heart (1995); Ann Dyer: No Good Time Fairies with Hafez Modirzadeh (1995); Nathaniel Mackey: Song of the Adomboulou (1995); Fred Ho: Never Give Up, Monkey - Part One, Part Two (1996-97); ZaZa: Nights One and A Thousand (1997); Michael Brook: Albino Alligator (1997); Miya Masaoka: What Is The Difference Between (1998); Master Ron Lew: Qi Gong, Nei Gong: 5 and 4 Separate Days (1998); Asian American Jazz Orchestra: Big Band Behind Barbed Wire (1998); Karney: Karney (1999); Ann Dyer: Revolver --- A New Spin (1999); Asian American Jazz Orchestra: Far East Suite (1999); Mark Izu and Circle of Fire: Threading Time (2000); Pearl Ubungen: Tagulaylay (2000); Persian Pop: Khatoum, Barmigardam, Zir Aseman-e Shehr (2001-2002); John-Carlos Perea: First Dance (2001); Tim Volpicella: Many Places (2001); Anthony Brown's Asian American Orchestra: Monk's Moods (2002); Phoenix Spring Ensemble: Desert Dreams of Light (2002); Ian Dogole: Night Harvest (2002); Royal Hartigan: Ancestors (2003)

"Makam X: Musical Archetype of the People", chapter in Afro/Asia:
Revolutionary  Connections in Asian/African American Politics and Culture
(ed. Fred Ho and William Mullen). Autonomedia Publications. Brooklyn, NY. 2003
Djerassi Resident Artist, Composition (July 8-Aug 7)Woodside. 2003
"In Search of Makam X: Aural Archetypes in Asian Modal Practices", paper for Symposium on Central Asian Music (November 2), Stanford University.  2002
"Chromodality Revisited" lecture tour (April 2-5): Boston - Northeastern, Middletown - Wesleyan, Providence - Brown, Newark - Rutgers Universities. 2002
"Aural Archetypes and Cyclic Perspectives in the Work of John Coltrane and Ancient Chinese Musical Theory", Black Music Research Journal.  (XXII:1). 2002
Community Service Learning Development Award (2000-01). San Francisco State University 2001
"Spiraling Chinese Cyclic Theory and Modal Jazz Practice Across Millenia", Journal for Music In China. (II:2).  2000
Book Review for In The Course of Performance: Studies in the World of Musical Improvisation. Journal of the Society for Ethnomusicology. (XLIV:1). 2000
"Spiraling Cyclic Theory and Modal Jazz Practice: The 60-Tone Case of  John Coltrane and Ching Fang", SEM Conference Paper (Nov. 20), Austin.   1999
"A Chromodal Approach to Geomorphology" (with Dr. Ray Pestrong, Geosciences), Paper for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (June 19), San Francisco. 1999
"A Chromodal Model for Improvisation Studies", Paper for Interdisciplinary Symposium on Improvised Music (April 10), University of California, San Diego. 1999
Artist-in-Residence Grant, California Arts Council (Lincoln High School), San Jose 1996-99
"Chromodal Exercises for the Cross-Cultural Improvisor", and "Trans-Intervallic Exercises for the Post-Modern Improvisor",  The Horn Call Journal. (XXV-VI:1-3). 1994-96.
"Out There:  Hafez Modirzadeh" by Gamall Awad, California Jazz Now. (III:10-11). 1994
"Style and Structure in Iranian Classical Music", SEM Conference Paper, Oxford, MI 1993
Chromodality and the Cross-Cultural Exchange of Musical Structure. PhD Dissertation, Wesleyan University. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, Inc. 1992
"Chromodal Discourse as a New Theory of Cross-Cultural Musical Practice", SEM Conference Paper, Chicago, IL  1991
National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Fellowships 1991, 1989
"Research Models in Ethnomusicology Applied to the Radif Phenomenon in Iranian Classical Music", Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology (V:3). 1986
Miller Award, Jazz Composition. University of California Los Angeles. 1985

Contact information:
(415) 338-3883

Back to Top