Since moving to New York in 1997, Israel-born tenor saxophonist, composer and educator Ofer Assaf has performed with a veritable who’s who of the jazz world and beyond.
Assaf’s CV includes work with keyboardist Adam Holzman (Miles Davis) and bassist John Lee (Music Director for the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band and Dizzy Gillespie AllStars) as well as with George Clinton and several of Clinton’s P-Funk and Funkadelic alumni bands.
He has also played with Francisco Mela, David Gilmore, Arturo O’Farrill, Ron McClure, Living Colour’s Will Calhoun and Vernon Reid and the Latin group KAMAFRA with Tania Maria’s percussionist Edmundo Carnero.
While in Israel, Assaf attended the Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts, dividing his time between his two passions: music and dance. After his decisive big move to New York City, he immediately entered The New School University's jazz program.
While pursuing his degree, he would go on to study with two of his idols, tenor saxophonist Billy Harper (Randy Weston, Art Blakey, etc.) and Reggie Workman (John Coltrane, Art Blakey).
Upon graduating in 2002, a career highlight was performing with legendary jazz icons Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock at Carnegie Hall as part of the JVC Jazz Festival.
Assaf’s music has been internationally recognized:
-He won the Israeli National Competition in Jazz and Contemporary Music for young musicians (1991);
-He was recipient of scholarships and awards from the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute (1999-2001) and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation (1998-1992).
-He was pre-nominated for the Grammy Awards in “Best Jazz Instrumental Album” category (2009) for his debut album Tangible Reality (Summit Records) with Jim Rotondi (trumpet), Don Pate and Essiet Essiet (bass) and Bruce Cox (drums).
-With the Bernie Worrell Orchestra, he was awarded “Best Funk/Fusion/Jam Song of the Year” at the 12th annual Independent Music Awards (2013).