Born: March 10, 1976 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Ofer Assaf is a jazz saxophonist and composer. Born in Israel, Ofer Assaf's exposure to music began with the recorder at the age of 6. While attending the Thelma Yellin high school of the arts, Ofer divided his time between his passions of music and dance. He was dancing professionally for several years, but eventually decided to focus on music as his career.
Ofer's love of creating music led him to excel in the saxophone, and he went on to win the Israeli National Competition in Jazz and Contemporary Music for young musicians in 1991. After completing high school, Ofer was a saxophonist with the Air Force and IDF Orchestras in the Israeli army to fulfill his mandatory national service. During that time, he had the privilege to perform at monumental events for world leaders, including former President Bill Clinton, and former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin. His career in Israel explored a myriad of musical avenues, including performing at nation-wide events. Ofer played for the 3000th anniversary celebration of Jerusalem with the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, and a diverse array of national television and radio shows. He went on to perform with leading Israeli musicians, becoming a prominent local musician and a member of the Tel Aviv Big Band in the mid-1990's.
Eager to expand his musical skills, Ofer moved to New York in 1997 and immersed himself in his studies at the New School University's jazz program, where he studied under the direction of Billy Harper, Reggie Workman, Richie Beirach to name a few. While pursuing his degree, Ofer received several scholarships and awards from the Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute and the America-Israel Cultural Foundation.
Since graduating in 2002, Ofer has performed with a wide range of artists. He has had the privilege to play with Wayne Shorter and Herbie Hancock, with whom he shared a stage in Carnegie Hall as part of the JVC jazz festival. In addition, Ofer has had the great fortune of playing with legendary bassist Reggie Workman. Ongoing stints included Alex Skolnick (Skol-Patrol), the Latin Jazz groups of Hymie Rivera and Omar Alexander and also the Bachanalia string ensemble. He toured Europe with a modern jazz quintet, Kamafra, and subsequently released a live album, Kamafra Live. Ofer has also performed with Adam Holzman, Ron McClure, Victor Jones, Keith Carlock, Francis Mbappe, Joe Cuba, Arturo O'Farrell, Will Calhoun, Vernon Reid, Reggie Washington,Rick Sebastian, David Gilmore, Dennis Davis and others.
Ofer has recently finished recording his debut album, “Tangible Reality,” featuring trumpeter Jim Rotondi, bassists Don Pate and Essiet Essiet, and drummer Bruce Cox.
Billy Harper (October 2007)
“His ability to grasp this style of music [Afro-Cuban Jazz] was outstanding. He has since been able to make the transition easily into the highly competitive NYC Jazz and Latin scene.”
Bobby Sanabria (April 2002)
“He is a consistent, diligent and talented performer who has already begun to carve his place in the professional world...I am certain that he will make a valuable contribution to the artistic community”
Reggie Workman (January 2000)
Disclaimer: All About Jazz is not responsible for the accuracy of the discographical data at the website(s) provided. If a link is no longer valid, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
New York, NY
Ofer Assaf is a Saxophone teacher with a Bachelor degree from the New School University's Jazz Program in NYC. his exprience includes private instruction and workshops in the US, Europe and Israel. Music instructor in the following public and private schools since 2006 - Lowell school, Whittier school and Yavne Academy. Instruction specializes in Theory, Ear-training, Sight-Reading and Improvisation. Available for Workshops and Master Classes worldwide.