BBB circus back in town

The Balkan Beat Box, a hectic, eclectic jazz combo, returns to Israel to play shows incorporating everything from gypsy music to free jazz.

balkan beat box 88.298 (photo credit: )
balkan beat box 88.298
(photo credit: )
After Israeli-born, longtime New York resident saxophonist Ori Kaplan spent his first decade in the States as a bona fide member of the jazz community - albeit with a decidedly avant garde ethos - he broke out of the jazz ranks to explore unfettered and unchartered ethnic-electronic territory. He subsequently set up the Balkan Beat Box (BBB) duo with fellow expatriate Israeli drummer Tamir Muskat. These days BBB maintains a hectic year-round touring schedule around the States and through Europe, making at least one trip to Israel per year. Their forthcoming local appearances will be at Jerusalem's Hamaabada on February 23 (10:30 p.m.) and at the Barbi Club in Tel Aviv tomorrow (midnight). It is something of a pointless exercise trying to pigeonhole what BBB does. Its sound incorporates gypsy music, Arabic motifs, klezmer, free jazz grooves, electronic riffs and plenty more. The result is something of a madcap circus ambiance. And the band, which now includes bassman Ben Handler, sax player Eyal Talmudi, vocalist-percussionist Tomer Yossef and guitarist Uri Kinrot, is not just a kaleidoscope of aural stimulation; there is a strong visual side to the act, too. For their local gigs, the band will swell its ranks with the services of singer Osher Sutin, DJ Lemez Lovas from London-based klezmer-oriented band Oi Va Voi, and belly dancer Vered.