[Dixielandjazz] Israeli Jazz in NYC
marekboym at gmail.com
Sun May 6 09:28:27 PDT 2012
We have been through that before. As far as I can tell, whatever it
is, jazz it is not. Of all the Cohen siblings (three claim to be jazz
players), only Anat plays what sounds jazz to my ears.
No, I am not going to engage in the discussio of what jazz is again -
it's futile. I don't quite see why the purveyors of all those various
styles of music(?) clamour for them to ba called jazz, except perhaps
because of what Eddie Condon said aeons ago: "A terrible thing has
happened to jazz: it became respectable."
The Cohen Brothers Band appeared in Caesarea in a programme of early
Armstrong music. The best I can say about it is that it only rarely
deteriorated into modern mayhem.
On 6 May 2012 18:05, Stephen G Barbone <barbonestreet at earthlink.net> wrote:
> Here is a description of what jazz is, as compared to what jazz was.
> Steve Barbone
> May 4, 2012 - NY TIMES - By Nate Chinen
> From Israel, a United Nations of Jazz
> The proposition that jazz is a global language, spanning continents and
> cultures, has been a reliable diplomatic device for so many years that it
> now has the ring of a banality.
> “Jazz became the world’s music long ago,” said Susan E. Rice, the United
> States ambassador to the United Nations, in that organization’s General
> Assembly hall on Monday night. “There is by now a rich tradition of Nordic
> jazz. There’s South Asian jazz, there’s Russian jazz and Chinese jazz.”
> Ms. Rice was speaking at a concert to celebrate International Jazz Day, an
> initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
> Organization, and if her quick catalog left out Israeli jazz, that was
> probably just as well: no need to state the obvious. Over the last 15 years,
> Israel has produced and exported so many serious young musicians that the
> jazz landscape is hard to picture without their influence, particularly in
> New York and especially now.
> Last week the Anzic label released a pair of albums that illustrate the
> point: “Suite of the East,” by the bassist Omer Avital, and “Songs and
> Portraits,” by the collective known as Third World Love, which consists of
> Mr. Avital, the trumpeter Avishai Cohen, the pianist Yonatan Avishai and the
> drummer Daniel Freedman. (The label also released “Bamako by Bus,” by Mr.
> Freedman, the only member of the collective who wasn’t born in Israel.) And
> over the next week and a half, a different contingent of musicians will take
> part in Jazzrael, a festival of jazz and world music presented by the
> Israeli Consulate in New York.
> The festival begins on Sunday night at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum,
> with a trio led by Omri Mor, an articulate young pianist from Jerusalem. Its
> closing event, at Joe’s Pub on May 16, will feature the multireedist Amir
> Gwirtzman and the singer Nurit Galron, both traveling from Israel for the
> Elsewhere on the schedule are Israeli musicians now residing in New York,
> like the pianist Alon Yavnai, who leads a big band at Joe’s Pub on Tuesday.
> A concert next Saturday at Temple Israel of the City of New York, on East
> 75th Street, will feature Mr. Mor, the flutist Hadar Noiberg and the
> accordionist Uri Sharlin, among others.
> Jazz has long had its share of what you could, with tongue in cheek,
> describe as “the Jewish tinge.” The clarinet players Benny Goodman and Artie
> Shaw both drew from cantorial traditions, however obliquely, and there are
> many other examples past the swing era, including the sprawling Masada
> project initiated by the avant-garde saxophonist and composer John Zorn in
> the early 1990s.
> The recent outpouring of musical talent from Israel represents a different
> strain of Jewish jazz, one less concerned about connecting with a distant
> heritage. Even with a population under eight million, Israel has both the
> polyglot cultural mix and the educational infrastructure that are conducive
> to training in jazz.
> It’s impossible to discuss these foundations without paying tribute to
> Arnie Lawrence, a tenor saxophonist and educator who moved from New York to
> Israel in 1997, creating the International Center for Creative Music in
> Jerusalem; among his students was the clarinetist and tenor saxophonist Anat
> Cohen, now a mainstay on the contemporary New York scene (and the namesake
> and anchor of Anzic Records).
> Mr. Lawrence had also helped found the jazz and contemporary music program
> at the New School in Manhattan, so it was only natural that a process of
> international exchange would take hold. Since his death in 2005, that
> process has been formalized. The New School now offers a joint four-year
> degree with the Center for Jazz Studies at the Israel Conservatory of Music:
> student musicians spend two years at each institution, starting out in Tel
> Aviv and finishing in New York. Which partly explains how Israelis make up
> nearly 10 percent of the enrollment in the New School jazz program. (Martin
> Mueller, the executive director of that program, put together the lineup for
> the Jazzrael festival.)
> But the Israeli jazz cohort has also forged its strength outside the
> academy. While there were early outliers, like the guitarist Roni Ben-Hur,
> who moved to New York in 1985, critical mass began forming in the late
> 1990s, after the success of the bassist Avishai Cohen. Mr. Avital and others
> formed a scene around Smalls Jazz Club, which remains a hub.
> Subsequent arrivals included the tenor saxophonist Eli Degibri, whose most
> recent album is “Israeli Song” (Anzic); Anat Cohen and her brother Avishai,
> not to be confused with the bassist; Gilad Hekselman, a guitarist with a
> cool and slippery style; and Omer Klein, a pianist who works with two other
> transplants, the bassist Haggai Cohen Milo and the drummer Ziv Ravitz.
> What’s striking about these musicians, beyond their nationality, is their
> air of earnest cosmopolitanism. The music they create might include elements
> of traditional Israeli music, but only as one hue on a broader palette,
> mostly unconcerned with assimilation.
> Anat Cohen, for one, made her name in New York partly by playing Brazilian
> music with Choro Ensemble. Mr. Avital has an abiding fascination with North
> African and Middle Eastern music, which he explores on “Suite of the East.”
> The new album by Third World Love includes tunes inspired by Senegalese kora
> patterns and Spanish flamenco.
> And then there was Mr. Degibri at the United Nations General Assembly hall
> on Monday night, about an hour and a half into the Unesco concert. Enlisted
> to play in an ad hoc combo that included the trumpeter Terence Blanchard and
> the pianist Hiromi Uehara, he projected in strong, clear bursts. What he was
> playing was a modal jazz arrangement of “Sakura,” the Japanese folk song. He
> sounded as if he’d been playing it all his life.
> Jazzrael runs Sunday through May 16; facebook.com/jazzraelfest.
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