Concert Review

The mostly well kept secret of Israel’s burgeoning avant garde jazz scene is surely completely out of the bag now, following last Thursday’s gig with saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer.

By BY BARRY DAVIS
February 11, 2010 09:00
1 minute read.
Yoni Kretzmer

Yoni Kretzmer. (photo credit: courtesy)

 
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Yoni Kretzmer
Tel Aviv Jazz Festival
February 4

The – until recently – mostly well kept secret of Israel’s burgeoning avant garde jazz scene is surely completely out of the bag now, following last Thursday’s gig with saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer, who thrilled a packed audience at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque on the second day of this year’s Tel Aviv Jazz festival.

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Kretzmer appeared with longtime collaborator, and former Rats band colleague, drummer Daniel Feingold as well as a classical trio of Daniel Tanakhelson on viola, cellist Neta Cohen Shani and acoustic bass player Ehud Etun. The concert was based on material from Kretzmer’s debut album New Dilemma but, fittingly, played around and remolded the source material.

The show was an undulating trip from beginning to end. Kretzmer alternated between deft sonic dabs to all out hurricanes of sound while Feingold supported, complemented and pushed his own boat out throughout. Meanwhile, the string trio at the other side of the stage kept up a quality offering that ebbed and flowed seamlessly with the jazzier endeavor.

There were dialogues galore between alternating pairings. In particular bassist Etun and Kretzmer blew the audience away with some blood-and-guts bluesy passages, and Tanakhelson somehow managed to produce textures from his viola which, in tandem with the leader, gave the impression of a second horn.

Abrasive sonic edges notwithstanding, the ensemble never lost touch with the melodic content of the works and the suite-like program sent everyone home very happy. For my money, the Kreztmer show was the best of the whole festival. Considering 82-year-old iconic saxophonist Lee Konitz’s eagerly awaited but highly unsatisfactory shows on the morrow it was all the more gratifying to know we have homespun quality available too.

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