Skip to content


Oded Tzur | “My Prophet”

On My Prophet, Saxophonist Oded Tzur Continues on the Idiosyncratic Musical Path he has Carved out for Himself While Delving Deeper into the Meditative and Highly Concentrated Realm of Improvisation

Featuring Pianist Nitai Hershkovits, Bassist

Petros Klampanis and Drummer Cyrano Almeida

Available June 7 via ECM

There’s a cunning intensity that inhabits this freshly etched program of five extensive pieces plus an introductory miniature, presenting saxophonist Oded Tzur in a light that balances the extremes: bright inflections of fiery refrains go hand in hand with long passages of ruminative and deeply felt interplay. In the process, the saxophonist exhibits some of his fiercest playing yet. Accompanied by his quartet of pianist Nitai Hershkovits, bassist Petros Klampanis and the new group member Cyrano Almeida on drums, the saxophonist continues on the idiosyncratic musical path he has carved out for himself – a flowing jazz idiom that seamlessly combines multiple forms of expression – while delving deeper into the meditative and highly concentrated realm of improvisation.

The Guardian’s John Fordham called Tzur’s last album Isabela “a bewitching session” and “a gem in the playbook of doing more with less,” while observing how his “saxophone tones materialize imperceptibly, (…) his fragile, meticulously-shaped notes seem to float in still air.” Indeed, The New York-based saxophonist’s uniquely soft, flute-like tone bears resemblance to none of his contemporaries and his uncompromising determination in forging a singular way through the realm of jazz and improvisation is unmistakably his very own, and has reached a whole new level of maturation on My Prophet.

A standout trait since the quartet’s tenure with the label has been the exceptional interplay between Tzur and Hershkovits. Here more than ever, Hershkovits roams freely within the structures the leader and his accompanists provide, switching and combining inflections of jazz, classical and more left-field inspirations seamlessly as the plot thickens. Commending the pianist’s unique approach on his solo record, Stereophile magazine said: “as his thoughts and feelings flow, Hershkovits again and again comes upon unfamiliar iterations of beauty.” This holds just as true here. Tzur keeps the sturdy center, outlining the compositional seed, while Hershkovits performs pianistic pirouettes, orbiting the main themes like a whirlwind.

“’Freedom in the discipline’ is our philosophy between the heads of my songs,” Tzur explains. “I feel very strongly about how the initial exposition of a theme should be treaded, and how it’s to be reprised at the end. But what happens in between is defined only by our individual voices in the quartet and how we navigate freedom within the form. The marriage of form and freedom is a beautiful notion to me. Two so seemingly disparate concepts, but resulting in no contradictions whatsoever.”

The absence of contradiction however doesn’t discourage the potential for musical tension. For there’s plenty positive tension to go around on the album. After the calmly introduced monophony of “Epilogue,” “Child You” starts things off kicking, with the band conjuring a tight-knit unison before Tzur takes off in soloist flight. It’s a spiralling, tuneful demonstration with nuanced dynamics. Follow-up “Through a Land Unsown” by contrast turns the spotlight towards the firmly grounding bass-work of Klampanis, whose earthy tone takes the lead in a blues-tinged exploration of seemingly simple changes framed in a large dynamic spectrum.

Tzur confirms how “there’s this necessary tension when working with people who are great at what they do, as is the case with my colleagues in the quartet and especially with Hershkovits, who goes to far-out places within the structures and frameworks I provide. It’s a real ‘more than the sum of its parts’ type of situation, each person’s unique voice collectively culminating in the band’s sound. And then there’s also the special relationship with Manfred [Eicher] in the studio, a unique listener, again contributing to the same phenomenon. All of these energies pulling at the fabric from different angles is what leads to this unique result, as you hear it on the album.”

Newcomer Almeida on drums energizes the ensemble from yet another angle, with a light-footedness that breathes air into the four-way conversations. Having grown up in the African-Brazilian Candomblé religion, the percussionist was exposed to a very musical culture from early on. Upon hearing him play with the house-band of a club in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, Tzur was “immediately taken with this totally different pulse he brings to the music. I immediately wanted that in my band.”

First gently swaying, then nimbly driving, the drummer’s impulsions incite some of the quartet’s most lyrical interplay on “Renata,” his brush-work flaring up like tiny sparks of lightning. The group’s meditative tendency – Tzur suggests that “music just may be the one true form of collective meditation” – reaches a concentrated peak on the title track. Here, the saxophonist’s expressive tone, combined with Hershkovits’s impressionist stirrings on keys invoke the kind of silent power one also finds in spiritual jazz. With “Last Bike Ride In Paris”, the group goes out with a bang – concluding the album at its most ferocious and outgoing.

Recorded at Studios La Buissonne, Southern France, in November 2023, My Prophet was produced by Manfred Eicher.

Oded Tzur · My Prophet

ECM · Release Date: June 7, 2024

For more information on ECM, please visit: | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

For media inquiries regarding other ECM titles, please contact:

DL Media · 347-489-5894

Jon Solomon ·

Don Lucoff ·

For the Preferred Artist

Information and press materials (including album covers, promotional photos 

and bios) on all DL Media artists can be found at our website: