SLIDE TRUMPETER Steven Bernstein from the Sexmob band..
(photo credit: BARRY DAVIS)
Another Jerusalem Jazz Festival has been and gone. It was the third edition thereof and it really feels, now, that the event is here to stay on the national cultural calendar.
Once again, artistic director and internationally acclaimed trumpeter Avishai Cohen put together a diverse range of acts that ran the gamut of straight-ahead jazz, through more unfettered creative climes, to offerings of a more commercial leaning.
The Non Standards show pertained to the latter field of entertainment, with stellar pop vocalist Keren Ann front stage. She had plenty of quality instrumental jazz support, with 24-year-old pianist Tomer Bar also providing all the slick arrangements. The rest of the first-rate lineup included Bar’s younger brother guitarist Nitzan, flutist Itai Kriss, acoustic bass player Yurai Oron and drummer Ofri Nehemya.
There was little in Non Standards to tickle the fancy of the pure jazz lover but all acquitted themselves well, and with the younger Bar and Nehemya, in particular, shining brightly.
The Papanosh quintet from France were possibly the pick of the three-day bunch in terms of pure inventiveness and entertainment value. There was ne’er a dull moment in their show, in the Israeli Art gallery, as the group members careened through all manner of genre, style and mindset. Having keyboardist Sébastien Palis alternate between piano and Hammond B-3 organ helped to keep the sonic and stylistic fulcrum pivoting nicely, and there was a delightful theatrical spot with Palis conducting saxophonist Raphael Quenehen and trumpeter Quentin Ghomari. This was go-withthe- flow music at its unfettered finest.
Slide trumpeter Steven Bernstein’s Sexmob band also provided plenty of entertainment value as they flitted seamlessly through straight-ahead jazz, rock-inflected passages and Jewish melodies.
Over at the Ai Weiwei exhibition space, with its comfy soft tiling, German cellist Anja Lechner and French pianist Francois Couturier provided their audience with some respite from the higher energy stuff, with some delectably crafted works that trod the fine line between “new music” and classical fare.
As expected the Bad Plus show was a sellout, with the high-octane trio making their final appearance before pianist Ethan Iverson moves on to other things. Over the past 17 years Iverson, bassist Reid Anderson, and drummer Dave King have drawn in the crowds, the world over, with their captivating mix of rock-driven sensibilities, mixed with classical undercurrents – largely courtesy of Iverson – and relentless jazzy offerings. The show at the Israel Museum auditorium ticked all the above stylistic boxes.
And if the festivalgoers were looking for exhilarating groove they needed look no further than the Daniel Freedman quartet’s gig. The Jewish American drummer is no stranger to these parts, particularly as a member of the highly popular Third World Love foursome.
His pal from the latter lineup, Frenchbased Israeli pianist Yonatan Avishai provided lacy lines aplenty, with stellar New York-based guitarist Gilad Hekselman putting in his silky pennyworth and bassist Barak Mori keeping things rhythmically and texturally shipshape.
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