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(photo credit: Courtesy)
With roughly half a dozen annual jazz festivals, Israel, in proportion to its population, must have one of the most active jazz scenes in the world. Jerusalem joined the list of cities hosting its own festival last year, and the second Jerusalem International Jazz Festival begins tomorrow at three locations - the Tower of David Museum, the Jerusalem Theater and the Yellow Submarine jazz club.
The four-day event, which runs up till June 22, features performances by some of the world's greatest jazz musicians, among them Slide Hampton, Antonio Hart, the Cookers and more.
Among the headliners opening the musical extravaganza is Israel's own Achinoam Nini (Noa), who will launch her world tour, "Achinoam Sings Jazz," at the festival premiere.
Nini, who has collaborated in the past with artists including Sting and Santana, will perform jazz standards alongside compatriots Yaaki Levy (drums), Gil Dor (guitar) and Yorai Oran (contrabass).
Oran, a professor at the Jerusalem Music Academy and Ramat Hasharon's Rimon Music School, composed new works for another of his festival performances, and will perform them with the rest of his trio, BASSically Speaking, which includes Levy and Nitzan Ein Habar (saxophone and flute).
"Some of the compositions are brand new, while others are older," Oran says. "But even those which weren't composed especially for the festival received a special format and were dealt with in a way that would fit the [character] of the trio."
Oran says he's excited about his upcoming performances in the still-young Jerusalem festival. "I feel very proud and honored," he says, "to have been asked to perform ... to be a part of this large scale international festival hosting some of the best players in the world."
Also due to perform is Locksley Wellington Hampton, better known by his pseudonym, "Slide Hampton". Known as one of the greatest trombonists of all time, he will be heading an ensemble of trombonists several times throughout the festival.
Other acts include the Carmen Lundy Quartet, the Al Foster Quartet and a duet by Daniel Zamir and Zohar Fresco.
The much-hyped British Jewish band Oi Va Voi will also be performing in support of its newest album at the festival, a self-titled collection it recently released.
A street fair featuring food, drinks and fine wine will accompany the four days of the festival. Walking tours of the Old City will also be offered for an additional fee, while jam sessions will follow master classes and performances by the festival's international artists each evening.
Ticket prices range from NIS 65 - 135. For further information and purchasing, please call: 02-622-2333 or visit www.jjf.org.il.