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Tomchess and Strange Ornament Quartet

  • Alwan for the Arts 16 Beaver Street 4th floor New York, NY, 10004 United States (map)

Tomchess and Strange Ornament Quartet


  • Zach Swanson | Accoustic Bass
  • Noel Brennan | Drums/Percussion
  • Aaron Shragge | Trumpet
  • Tomchess | Oud, Ney, Morsing, composer

Tickets available at the door or online.

$20 General Admission | $15 Students and Seniors (with ID)

Doors open at 7:30 pm

Listen here.

Tomchess and Strange Ornament Quartet use subtle harmonic color, extended melodic shapes, oddly proportioned rhythmic figures, as well as deep grooving, and alternative handling of space and scale, outlaying sound to iterate and explore stories that employ universal references in order to augment the singularity of individual style and sustain the endeavors of creativity.


"Chess is one of the most fascinating oud players on the scene. His astonishing technique, combined with a real poetic sensitivity and instinctive sympathetic vision of the music constantly conjures unpredictable musical delights. He exudes a vibe of a master who is unconcerned with the trappings of spectacle and showmanship, and concentrates on perfecting his art." -DBDBD, NYC

“...they also mix it up in a jazzy sort of way. Indeed, this is one of those magical efforts, teeming with striking comps and the artists' superlative technical expertise. They hit all the right spots while kicking out the proverbial jams via a fresh slant that yields gratifying results.” - Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz

About the Artist

NYC-based, multi-instrumentalist/improviser/composer Tomchess has played and recorded with some of the heaviest players in the improvisational scene (Dewey Redman, Butch Morris, Pharoah Sanders, Drew Gress, Ronald Shannon Jackson), as well as Morrocan Sintarist Hassan Hakmoun. Having studied Near Eastern and North African musical traditions, his sound encompasses the tonal palette, rhythms and forms of these traditions while never losing sight of his American roots and the importance and freedom of improvising.

Tomchess has performed internationally (Africa, Canada, Holland, India and Italy) and has performed in countless venues including Lincoln Center, The David Rubinstein Atrium, the Asia Society, the Metropolitan Museum of Art,the Natural History Museum,as well as the United Nations. He has also performed on NPR and PBS and played on Grammy-nominated recordings. He has been awarded grants from the Turkish American Society and The Maryland Council for The Arts. In 2012, Tomchess was nominated for an Independent Music Award.