Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz — acoustic bass, electric bass, oud, gimbri — was born in Brooklyn, NY in 1975 to Egyptian and Polish parents. He was given his first instruments, the pots and pans from the kitchen and a three string guitar at the age of two.
Shanir is featured on over 35 releases on John Zorn’s Tzadik record label since 1999 – producing and arranging many of the bands he works with, including Rashanim “The Gathering”, Edom “Hope And Destruction”, Pitom “Blasphemy And Other Serious Crimes”, and the “Kef” self titled debut. In 2011, Shanir produced and arranged the cd “Caym”, featuring Cyro Baptista’s Banquet Of The Spirits – comprised of compositions by John Zorn as part of the Masada “Book Of Angels” series on Tzadik. Other cds by Cyro Baptista include the self titled debut of “Banquet Of The Spirits” and “Infinito” – with compositions and arrangements by Shanir.
In 2012, Shanir released a cd by his own group ABRAXAS on Tzadik featuring John Zorn’s Masada “Book Of Angels” compositions.
“ABRAXAS: Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz steps out on his own to make one of the most primal and tribal installments in the ‘Book of Angels’ series. Drawing on his Sephardic roots, Shanir plays gimbri throughout, giving the music a primeval Moroccan edge. Featuring the intense guitar pyrotechnics of Eyal Maoz, Aram Bajakian and the atavistic drumming of Kenny Grohowski, this is Ritualistic Jewish Rock for the 21st century by a brilliant young lion from the East Village via Brooklyn/Israel!”
In 2014, ABRAXAS was featured on John Zorn’s “Psychomagia”.
“Psychomagia is the new album by the fabulous quartet of ABRAXAS, the acclaimed tribal rock arrangments for the ‘Book of Angels’ series. Here they perform a complex new suite of music written expressly for them by Downtown alchemist John Zorn. Drawing inspiration from the magical writings of Giordano Bruno and Alejandro Jodorowski and others, Zorn has written a bold collection of compositions that challenge the musicians to the breaking point. With a program ranging from some of the most intense ritualistic sounds you are likely to hear to tender minimalistic odes, this is a surprising new volume in Zorn’s mystic series that matches the intensity and power of Moonchild, Painkiller and Naked City. Recorded at Orange Sound and mixed by Bill Laswell. Essential.
Tzadik releases featuring Shanir include The Treatment, Workingman’s Death, Notes on Marie Menken/Ray Bandar, Belle de Nature/The New Rijksmuseum, Filmworks Anthology 1986-2005, In Search Of The Miraculous, and Protocols of Zion (featuring Shanir on oud) – all composed by John Zorn. Other releases on Tzadik include Pharaoh’s Daughter and Satlah.
Shanir has performed in concert halls and festival stages all over the world with John Zorn, ABRAXAS, Banquet of the Spirits, Yemen Blues, Zion80, Edom, Pitom, Rashanim, Satlah, Kef, Pharaoh’s Daughter, and recently joining Yo-Yo Ma playing oud, bass, gimbri, and arranging music for the Silk Road Project.