The Red Sea Jazz Festival returns

The three-day program, scheduled for the weekend of November 10-12, takes in a mix of stellar acts and younger kids on the musical block. 

(photo credit: BETSY NEWMAN)

The Red Sea Jazz Festival returns to the Port of Eilat with edition No. 36 and all stylistic guns merrily and sonorously blasting away. 

The three-day program, scheduled for the weekend of November 10-12, crafted by acclaimed bass player and record producer, artistic director Yossi Fine, takes in an intriguing mix of stellar acts and younger kids on the musical block, from here and overseas. 

There are plenty of crowd-pleasers in there that will surely draw large audiences looking for polished sounds and honest-to-goodness entertainment. Fans of melodic fare, with more than a dollop of groove, will no doubt be delighted to see the name Third World Love in the schedule mix.

The three-quarter Israeli foursome – Jewish American drummer Daniel Freedman being the alien in the bunch – made waves across the international jazz scene around 15 to 20 years ago. The band ran its course over a decade ago, as each of its highly capable members continued onto robust solo paths, and local jazz fans will surely head South in their droves to catch the quartet live, once more, all these years on.

Third World Love trumpeter Avishai Cohen – an internationally celebrated star in his own right for some time now – will not be the only member of his family at the port-side venue. Older sister, feted clarinet and saxophone player Anat Cohen is also in the lineup, with her new Quartetinho band. Over the years, the multiple Grammy-nominated reed instrument player has increasingly veered in the specific direction of Brazilian music, across various genres and styles. 


The Eilat gig will see her showcase material from the group’s new album, due for release next month, as Cohen and her international sideman cast – which includes American multi-instrumentalist James Shipp – dig into Brazilian acoustic music alongside electronic sounds and rhythms.

Jacob Collier

WHEN IT comes to genuine star status, there are few who currently match up to Jacob Collier. There does not appear to be anything the effervescent 28-year-old British multi-instrumentalist and vocalist cannot do. 


Since he exploded onto the scene in 2014, Collier, who performs on the festival’s first evening, has taken the global music arena by storm, garnering Grammy Awards for each of his four studio albums to date. He heads this way, with his group, to play material from his wide-ranging, multi-Grammy-winning Djesse project, which mixes jazz with a broad sweep of other musical sensibilities.

Another Brit makes an appearance in Eilat on the morrow, when young saxophonist Emma Rawicz takes the stage. Her oeuvre to date, with the well-received Incantation debut album and a second in the making, embraces a compelling cocktail of Afro Cuban-inspired grooves, cutting-edge jazz sounds and funk. Rawicz will be supported by a quintet that features longtime British-resident, seasoned Israeli drummer Asaf Sirkis, a band leader and fixture on the European jazz circuit in his own right. 

The offshore festival contingent also includes 78-year-old Ethiopian-born keyboardist-percussionist Mulatu Astatke, who should get the crowds going with his singular intoxicating Ethio-jazz style that has inspired musicians across the genre spectrum.

The local side of the Red Sea roster sees German-based pianist Omer Klein make a welcome return to these shores, together with old pal and long-serving sidekick bassist Haggai Cohen-Milo, and the more recently added fiery drummer Amir Bressler. Klein is a highly appreciated performer and composer across the world, with a string of lauded recordings put out over the past decade and a half. It will be good to see him back here for his first Israeli show in more than three years.

Other Israeli acts to watch out for over the November weekend include former festival artistic director, and renowned saxophonist Eli Degibri; Ethiopian-Israeli rapper, spoken word artist and vocalist Orit Tashoma, who will be joined by up-and-coming pianist Stav Achai and a six-piece instrumental lineup; and rapper Ravid Plotnik with celebrated Ethiopian-born saxophonist-vocalist Abate Berihun and rapper-vocalist Sima Noon guesting. Veteran pop-rock singer Gidi Gov will also drop by down South to display his jazzier side. 

On the final day, Fine takes a break from his artistic director duties to perform with a young hip hop-leaning ensemble, while veteran envelope-pushing pianist Maya Dunietz’s trio slot on November 11, along with bassist Barak Mori and the aforementioned Bressler, should be a quality artistic undertaking.

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