Red Sea Jazz Festival returns amid COVID-19

All we need now is for the festival to beat the COVID-19 trap.

ELI DEGIBRI (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The winter version of the Red Sea Jazz Festival is due to take place in Eilat for the 11th year, from February 18-20. Considering the revamped summer edition was scheduled to run several months ago and was ultimately scuttled by ongoing health-related directives, it’s anyone’s guess whether the festival plans will actually come to musical fruition in February.
Be that as it may, and with constraints on international travel and requirements for isolation, incoming artistic director and internationally acclaimed bass guitarist and record producer Yossi Fine has lined up a local roster that features some of our top jazz artists alongside other acts with little or no connection with the improvisatory field.
There are plenty of the usual suspects in the mix, including the likes of globally renowned saxophonist Eli Degibri showcasing his latest album, Henri and Rachel, and trumpeter Avishai Cohen. the Israeli Jazz Orchestra which will team up with soulful vocalist Hanan Ben Ari, the dynamic Addis Ken Project quartet led by Ethiopian-born saxophonist and singer Abatte Berihun, while pianist Shai Maestro will front his own trio. Highly popular reedman Daniel Zamir should provide his audience with entertaining fare, with electronically-leaning keyboardist Hod Moshonov guesting.
On the extra-jazz side of the three-day program, music lovers can find ethnic music royalty members kamanche player Mark Eliyahu and his tar-playing dad Piris, and singer songwriters Yasmin Mualem and Noga Erez.
Celebrated ethnically-seasoned jazz pianist Omri Mor occupies an intriguing slot based on the music of world music star Idan Raichel, with Raichel putting in an appearance too, with drummer Amir Bresler’s multidisciplinary Liquid Saloon 10-piece band and the Quarter to Africa gang infusing the proceedings with plenty of joie de vivre, as will long serving hip hop-funk outfit Hadag Nahash.
Elsewhere in the program, stellar veteran vocalist Achinoam Nini – aka Noa – teams up with old sparring partner guitarist Gil Dor, with doyen bassist Eli Magen in the lineup, and pianist Shaul Eshet and his trio will unfurl some of his self-written creations.
There are also a bunch of master classes in the offing over the three days, as well as jam sessions, movies and panel discussions. Presumably the sun will also be out down South for the occasion, and the Red Sea is as azure as ever. All we need now is for the festival to beat the COVID-19 trap.
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