The winter edition of the Red Sea Jazz Festival is back. For three days, February 23-25, we cannot only bask in the gently warming rays at our southernmost resort, but we can also catch some melodic, lyrical, harmonious and – possibly – groovy sounds provided by an international cast of artists.
The founder and perennial artistic director Dubi Lenz is, once more, at the helm. As expected, there is a wide range of musical fare in the three-day pipeline. Spanish post-bop and flamenco pianist Chano Dominguez brings his seasoned artistry to the proceedings when he joins forces with Italian trumpeter Flavio Boltro and Israeli saxophonist Eli Dejibri. Together, they will offer a salute to the late, great French pianist Michel Petrucciani, who graced the Eilat stage in the late 1980s.
On the vocal side, Jazzmeia Horn is one to watch out for. The 31-year-old American singer has gained quite a reputation for herself since winning the prestigious Thelonious Monk Institute International Jazz Competition in 2015, putting out three records in the interim. Her repertoire features jazz standards as well as covers of numbers by the likes of Stevie Wonder.
Anyone looking for grooves mixed with some outside-the-box sentiments should enjoy the appearance by American saxophonist Avraham Fefer and his quartet, while the foursome led by Azerbaijani pianist Isfar Sarabski should get the audience truly going with an infectious mix of groove, bluesy riffs and mugham (traditional Azerbaijani music).
On the local side, festival circuit fixture stellar singer-songwriter and pianist Shlomi Shaban will unveil material from his latest album, in the company of high-energy siblings Eyal and Assaf Talmudi, while emotive storytelling singer-songwriter Arkadi Duchin also previews some new material.
In terms of Israeli offerings, New York-based guitarist Yotam Silberstein and his trio team up with flutist Itai Kriss for Silberstein’s new album release, and bassist Assaf Hakimi weighs in with his sextet.
Brazilian-born veteran Israeli percussionist Joca Perpignan and his quintet, together with reedman Asaf Yuria, join up with singer-songwriter Rona Kenan for a local take on the milestone 1964 release Getz/Gilberto, headed by American saxophonist Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist Joao Gilberto, which helped put Brazilian music on the global map and won a Grammy in the process.