Israel Festival features Jazz around the world

Jazz musicians at Israel Festival lineup "meager"; international representation offers variety.

US saxaphone composer 370 (photo credit: Dave Weiland)
US saxaphone composer 370
(photo credit: Dave Weiland)
The jazz lineup of this year’s Israel Festival is somewhat meager, with just two slots, both of which incorporate other areas of musical exploration with the nominal main art form.
The principal foreign jazz artist is composer-clarinetist-saxophonist Don Byron, who will perform in Jerusalem with his New Gospel Quintet, with vocalist La Velle, pianist Bruno Ruder and bass player Grad Jones, with Sangoma Everett on drums.
The band’s output is primarily based on the work of two of the giants of the gospel style – pianist Thomas A. Dorsey, who was known as “the father of black gospel music,” and powerhouse vocalist and guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who gained great popularity in the 1930s and 1940s, and found great success with her mixture of spiritual lyrics and secular musical styles.
Dorsey, who died in 1993 at the age of 93, also fused religious music non-religious disciplines, including jazz and blues.
During his close to three-decade career to date, Byron has gained a reputation for incorporating a wide range of musical endeavor in his work, including klezmer music and classical music. He last appeared in this country with Jewish American pianist, at the Opera House in Tel Aviv in 2009.
On the Israeli side of the jazz-oriented program, stellar New York-based Israeli bassist-composer Omer Avital teams up with mandolin player Avi Avital and jazz pianist Omer Klein, with ethnic percussionist Itamar Douari completing the lineup. The Israel Festival concert will be the quartet’s debut performance, and the show repertoire takes in world music, jazz and classical music.
The world music sector features Brazilian folk music artist and composer Renato Borghetti, who plays the gaita, a diatonic button accordion. In 2005 he won a Latin Grammy for his album, Gaita Ponto Com. Borghetti is coming here with saxophonist-flutist Pedro Figueiredo, guitarist Daniel Sa and pianist Vitor Peixoto and the foursome will offer the audience a high-energy show, with plenty of virtuosic playing and not a little humor.
Each of the instrumentalists comes from a different region of Brazil, and brings with them their local musical styles, with added jazz sentiments.
The Roamings concert also feeds off a diverse tapestry of ethnic disciplines, with the main ingredient being liturgical music of the Libyan Jewish community.
The name of the show comes from the title of a new CD overseen by oud player, arranger and musical director Yaniv Raba and bass player, guitarist and tar player Yankeleh Segal. The pair will be joined on stage by a substantial instrumental lineup, including ney (flute) player Yitzhak Ventura and percussionists Moshe Nuri and Roi Freedman, as well as vocalist Yitzhak Hayun. The concert will also feature guest appearances by stellar rock singer and guitarist Beri Sacharov, keyboardist Adi Renert and violinist Nitzan Chen-Razael.
The last world music concert in this year’s Israel Festival program culls sounds and rhythms from an extensive international musical hinterland with the Naya ensemble, including opera-trained vocalist Yaniv De’or, internationally renowned oud player and violinist Yair Halal, mandolin player Avi Avital, percussionist Erez Munk and sitar player Yotam Haimovitch.
The concert will feature material from both the eastern and western sides of the world, as well as classical music and Jewish liturgical material.