Over 40 artistic directors, educators and heads of leading musical events and
institutions around the world are about to get an earful of what some of
Israel’s best jazz and ethnic artists have to offer.
The musical showcase
starts Wednesday, with the first three days taking place at the Yellow Submarine
in Jerusalem, followed by a fourth day at the Levontin 7 club in Tel Aviv. The
expo will take place under the auspices of the Yellow Submarine, the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and Science, and the Jerusalem
Naturally, the event’s artistic director, Barak Weiss, is
looking for some decent returns on his efforts.
“The important thing is
to generate momentum and to maintain continuity,” he says. “We want to get the
message out there that we have some wonderful musicians here.”
end Weiss enlisted the help of Israel’s cultural attaches around the world, and
of some highly respected experts in the relevant musical fields
“All the cultural attaches I contacted were extremely helpful,”
notes Weiss, “and I couldn’t have done this without the connections and
expertise of the artistic committee.” The latter comprised Israel Army Radio
broadcaster Dubi Lenz, who is highly respected figure in the global world music
community, veteran Voice of Music jazz show presenter Leah Lior and pianist and
Levontin 7 club coowner Daniel Sarid.
The importance of the four-day
event is underlined by the fact that several Israeli artists who have been doing
their business abroad for some years are making the trek over here specifically
for the showcase. These include jazz guitarist Nadav Remez, flutist Hadar
Noiberg and singer Ayelet Gottlieb.
The list of acts lined up for the
Yellow Submarine and Levontin 7 slots is impressive and wide-ranging, and opens
with one of the big guns of the local jazz scene, saxophonist Eli Degibri, who
was recently appointed joint artistic director of the Red Sea Jazz festival in
Eilat, alongside Lenz. Elsewhere in the jazz section of the musical expo are
pianist Omer Klein, who lives in Germany, saxophonist Uri Gurvich and trumpeter
Itamar Borochov – both based in New York – and doyen of the Israeli avant garde
jazz scene saxophonist Albert Beger.
The ethnic side of the program
features the likes of Ehud Banai, percussionist Zohar Fresco – who will join
forces with celebrated jazz saxophonist Daniel Zamir – and internationally
renowned oud player and violinist Yair Dalal.
There are also a large
number of jazzworld music crossover acts, including pianist Omri Mor’s
AndaluJazz Trio, Ethiopian-born saxophonist Abate Berihun and his Shabate
Quintet, trombonist-keyboardist Avi Lebovich and his 13-piece Orchestra, who
play an eclectic range of jazz, funk, rock and ethnic music, guitarist-oud
player Amos Hoffman and the Malox duo of saxophonist Eyal Talmudi and drummer
Hagai Freshtman, who play a colorful mix of Balkan music with klezmer punk and
WEISS IS delighted with the response of Israeli musicians to
“We had 160 candidates for the showcase,” he says, adding that
there was quality to go with the quantity.
“I could have easily doubled
the number of bands [in the expo] and I would still have been very proud of what
we have to offer.”
In the end the list was whittled down to 28
“We have lots to show the world,” Weiss continues. “In the past few
years I think Israeli jazz musicians are up there with the very best, the world
over. People in New York and the rest of the US know that, but it is mainly
there that Israeli jazz artists have gained such a good reputation.”
says Weiss, the message has to be promulgated elsewhere.
official guest list certainly reflects that ambition, and includes Prof. Ulrich
Beckerhoff from Germany (who heads the European jazz showcase event Jazzahead!),
magazine editor Jo Frost, Taipei International Jazz Festival
director Chi-pin Hsieh, Romanian Sibiu Jazz Festival producer Hilarius Johannes,
and Wiener Konzerthaus artistic director Amanda Rotter. Several years ago, the
Vienna concert venue held a festival of Israeli and Jewish music, with a lineup
that included Chava Alberstein, bassist Avishai Cohen and world music star Idan
Weiss is particularly happy to be able to push Israeli jazz
musicians with ethnic coloring out there.
“If there is an Israeli niche
in jazz, that’s where it is,” he declares, “people like Amos Hoffman and Omri
The popular Israeli acts around the world are people like Avishai
Cohen, Idan Reichel, [high energy klezmer group] Oy Division and Yair Dalal. We
have a lot more to offer.”
Weiss is determined to keep the Israeli music
candle burning brightly in years to come too.
“We have to keep this
going. I would like Israeli artists to keep the dates of this, hopefully, annual
event free on their calendar and, no less important, I want the music industry
people to know this is happening and want to come to see what Israeli artists
The hoped for end product of this week’s showcase, and
similar events in years to come, says Weiss, will be for the world to sit up and
“I want Israeli musicians to be invited to perform at
festivals abroad but, even more so, for their work to be aired on commercial and
public radio stations all over, and for the media to write about them. That’s
why I asked several journalists to come here for the expo too. The media is a
very important part of all this.”
All the shows are open to the public,
with free entry to the three days in Jerusalem while Levontin 7 will sell
tickets at discount prices.
For more info:
www.yellowsubmarine.org.il, www.levontin7.com and ww.facebook.com/iejwm