Oran Etkin has been described as a "great clarinet player, excellent improviser" by New York Times critic Ben Ratliff and a "composer of eminent individuality" by Yusef Lateef. His music is featured on several CDs, including a GRAMMY Award winning compilation and he was voted #1 Rising Star Clarinetist in DownBeat Magazine’s 2016 Critics Poll. Etkin recently released his fourth album on Motema Music: ”What's New? Reimagining Benny Goodman" with Matt Willson, Sullivan Fortner, Steve Nelson and Charenee Wade. He has performed as a leader at venues including North Sea Jazz Fest, Montreal Jazz Fest, London Jazz Fest, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Wolftrap, San Jose Jazz Fest and more. His recent Paris duo concert with Sullivan Fortner was chosen as one of the top 6 musical highlights of the year by French publication Libération, which described it as "A concert of weightlessness, class, spark, inspiration and sharing. Magic uninterrupted for two hours. The crowd... went wild. For such is Etkin's music: sensitive to the exchange with the audience."
Grateful for the guidance he received from his elders, Etkin also feels a responsibility to pass on the joys of music to the next generation! He found he can have the deepest impact by reaching children at a young age, so he spent years creating the Timbalooloo Method, which has now been taught to over 3,000 young children in New York and has reached thousands more throughout the world through Timbalooloo on Tour, Timbalooloo Videos & Timbalooloo CDs. Harvie Keitel, who enrolled his son in 3 years of Timbalooloo classes, remarked that “our son was talking about Herbie Hancock, Mozart, Samba and African music - and he knew the difference!”. In fact in 2015, Herbie Hancock heard about all the children learning his music through Timbalooloo so he invited Etkin to perform it in Paris for UNESCO’s International Jazz Day and shot a short video for Timbalooloo students. Timbalooloo recently opened up its first brick and mortar flagship music class space: Timbalooloo SoHo, offering weekly group classes for young kids aged 3 months - 9 years old!
Etkin's unique sound on the sax, clarinet and bass-clarinet emanates from an openness to discovery in the world. The Irish Times observed that "Oran Etkin is a musician with his ears wide open, absorbing influences from West Africa, the Far East and Europe... this is world music in the true sense, not a lazy hybrid but a personal sound born out of deep respect for diverse musical traditions." Indeed deep respect and honest personal musical expression are themes that tie together all of Etkin's work - in composition, performance, recording or his educational work through his Timbalooloo organization.