Music good 88.
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Red Sea Jazz Festival
Considering it's the country's largest jazz festival, it was no surprise to encounter a stylistic and energetic flow at the Red Sea bash on the third of its four nights at the Eilat Port.
The energy and interest levels were high from the outset as French-born pianist Jean-Michel Pilc led a powerhouse trio of bassist Boris Kozlov and veteran drummer (and oft-time Eilat visitor) Billy Hart. The program reflected Pilc's recent recording output, plus a preview of things to come, with the pianist mixing passages of supreme lyricism with ferocious attacks that had the keyboard shuddering. All the while, Hart offered percussive suggestions of new avenues to follow and Kozlov provided a rich textural bedrock throughout, with some intriguing solo spots betwixt.
At the southern end of the port compound, Pilc's slot was followed by guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel and his quartet; they kept the crowd in the expansive Arena stage enclosure enthralled with a blend of roaring blues and smoother, soul-inflected playing.
Twenty minutes after the Rosenwinkel show kicked off, saxophonist Jimmy Greene led his quartet onto the Hall stage for the most mainstream jazz program of the evening. Greene alternated between tenor sax and the straight soprano variety as the band, with drummer Greg Hutchinson driving hard from the back, showcased cuts from Greene's latest release, Mission Statement.
On the home front, Israeli saxist Eli Degibri wowed the packed Hall stage crowd, along with his long-standing trio of organist Gary Versace and drummer Obed Calvaire, with a trademark Degibri amalgam of muscular blowing and ballad material.