Tel Aviv jazz time

Local and American musicians team up in trios, quartets and septets to delight audiences at the annual TA Jazz Festival.

George Colligan 311 (photo credit: Courtesy)
George Colligan 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
This year’s Tel Aviv Jazz Festival will take place at the Tel Aviv Cinematheque between February 15 and February 18 with a lineup that offers a variety of jazz entertainment, as well as some shows that tread the margins of the genre.
Jazz fans looking for something of a more creative bent will no doubt be delighted with the inclusion of Chicago flutist Nicole Mitchell, who will perform on February 16 at 10:30 p.m. The 43-year-old musician-bandleader has put out an impressive discography since she first hit the scene more than 20 years ago.
She is the co-president of the long-standing envelope-pushing Chicago vehicle the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM). Mitchell performs and records regularly with a number of bands, including her Black Earth Ensemble (BEE) and Black Earth Strings (BES) but will come here with her Indigo Trio, comprising fellow Chicagoans bassist Harrison Bankhead and drummer-percussionist Hamid Drake.
Drake will also be behind the skins in a concert on the opening day of the festival, when he reunites with leading Israeli avantgarde saxophonist Albert Beger (at 10:30 p.m.). The two first played together at the festival when Beger guested at Drake’s show along with trumpeter Roy Campbell and celebrated bassist William Parker. Drake also played on Beger’s two-volume Evolving Silence album released in 2005 and 2006. Drake and Beger’s show is called Fire from Within and was devised especially for the festival.
Earlier on the first day, US trumpeter Steven Bernstein will present his Diaspora Soul show, based on traditional Jewish melodies for texts such as “Mah Nishtana” and “Shlach Et Ami” Bernstein has been a mainstay of the New York radical Jewish music scene for some time, frequently recording with John Zorn’s Tzadik record label, and the texts will be put to a wide range of colorful and energy-infused musical styles. For the occasion, Bernstein has put together a septet, with four US musicians and three Israeli players, including tenor saxophonist Paul Shapiro, baritone saxophonist Yakir Sasson, drummer Roberto Rodriguez and Boston-based Israeli bassist Assaf Hakimi.
Alto saxophonist Jaleel Shaw will join forces with pianist George Colligan’s trio on February 16 (8 p.m.). The 32-year-old Philadelphiaborn Shaw has gained a reputation as one of the leading younger members of the New York jazz scene since he relocated there in 2000. He has put out two albums under his own name and is kept busy with frequent sideman engagements with the Roy Haynes Quartet, Mingus Big Band and the Count Basie Big Band, to mention a few. Colligan and his trio – of bass player Boris Kozlov and drummer Donald Edwards – will present a program of their own in the opening slot of the festival (February 15 at 8 p.m.).
On the local side of the festival lineup, New York-based Israeli saxophonist Shauli Einav will breeze into Tel Aviv on the heels of the recent release of his second album, Opus One. Einav will appear (February 16 at 10:30 p.m.) with a quartet comprised of bass player Or Bareket; drummer Amir Bressler; and rising star Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan. New York-based Israeli trombonist Yonatan Voltzok will make a guest appearance.
Hamasyan will front his own trio on February 17 (11 p.m.) with double bassist Sam Minale and drummer Mark Guiliana. Elsewhere on the Israeli side of the tracks, recent returnee vocalist Ayelet Rose Gottlieb, who has also recorded on Tzadik, will present material from her Betzidei Drachim (On the Roadside) album, which explores modern Israeli and Palestinian poetry through the jazz prism. For the occasion, Gottlieb will enjoy the substantial sideman services of guitarist Udi Horev, double bass player Ora Boasson-Horev, pianist Katya Tubul, oboist Yael Zamir and drummer Danny Benedikt, with veteran pop-soft rock star Alon Olearchik making a guest appearance.
For more information about the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival: and (03) 606-0800