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Dan Kurfirst + Brian Prunka

Spiral Music

Wednesday, November 4, 2015
6:00 PM–9:00 PM

Dan Kurfirst (percussion) + Brian Prunka (oud)

Dan Kurfirst is a New York City-based percussionist, composer, and improviser. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, his music reflects his upbringing among people from all corners of the world. His music incorporates aspects of Middle Eastern, West African, and Indian music while being clearly rooted in jazz and hip-hop.

Kurfist began traveling to Istanbul, Turkey, in 2009 to immerse himself in Middle Eastern music. He has studied under the master drummers Shane Shanahan, Nasheet Waits, and Tariq Snare in addition to an immersive period of study with Hakan Kaya and other local musicians in Istanbul. Dan currently leads the trio Subtle Realms, featuring Ben Cohen and Will McEvoy. He regularly performs with top musicians in NYC’s “world jazz” scene, including Tomchess, Brian Prunka, Gabriel Marin, Matt Darriau, Brandon Terzic, and Kane Maths. He serves as creative director of the American Sufi Project.

Before moving to Brooklyn in 2003, Brian Prunka lived and performed in New Orleans, where he spent his musically formative years immersed in the jazz community. With a background in traditional and modern jazz, and influenced by the rock and blues music of his teenage years, Prunka has always found himself drawn to a wide range of music without regard to boundaries—national or otherwise. In the late 1990s, he was introduced to the oud and quickly developed a profound connection with the instrument. A chance conversation led him to study with the renowned virtuoso Simon Shaheen and become involved in the Arabic music community. He seeks to bring together the essential characteristics of the music he loves through his improvisational style and diverse compositions.

Brian composes and performs jazz and Middle Eastern influenced music with his own projects (such as the Near East River Ensemble) and with musicians such as Michael Bates and Simon Shaheen. He also performs with Nashaz, the New York Arabic Orchestra, and others.