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This year's Tel Aviv Jazz Festival (February 15-18 at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque) offers local jazz fans a wide choice of musical entertainment. The main big name import is 74-year-old American bebop style saxophonist Phil Woods. There will also be a sizeable Italian contingent, including pianist Luigi Martinale's trio, Woods' pianist Tony Pancella, and percussionist Roberto Dani. The latter will team up with Israeli saxophonist Albert Beger.
The four-day roster offers mainstream jazz and a generous amount of free-style music, including Viennese-based Third Stream genre composer-trumpeter Franz Koglmann's trio playing its particular readings of Burt Bacharach pieces.
For a change, it won't be a foreign-dominated festival, with a large number of Israeli jazz artists displaying their musical talents. Young double bass player Gilad Abro will be the busiest of them all, joining forces with guitarist Amos Hoffman, drummer Shay Zelman and rising star 19-year-old trumpeter Niv Toar who is currently enrolled at prestigious Boston jazz establishment the Berklee College of Music. Elsewhere during the four-day festival Abro will perform sideman duties with former rock singer Mazi Cohen and US-born Jerusalemite pianist Judy Lewis.
Other local artists of note at the Cinematheque next week include promising young Jerusalemite pianist Omri Mor, guitarist Ofer Ganor and saxophonist Yuval Cohen - older sibling of internationally trumpeter Avishai and saxophonist Anat Cohen. Add to that Australian pianist John Bostock, who studied at the Tel Aviv Music Conservatory, and Chicago-based freestyle saxophonist Kalaparush Maurice McIntyre and you have possibly the most varied program in the event's 17 year history.
For more information visit: www.jazzfest.co.il