Sixth annual Jerusalem Jazz Festival to go online amid coronavirus

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ALON LOTRINGER and Victoria Hanna are two of the artists featured at this year’s Jerusalem Jazz Festival. (photo credit: VITALY FRIEDLAND/IDAN GOLKO)
ALON LOTRINGER and Victoria Hanna are two of the artists featured at this year’s Jerusalem Jazz Festival.
The sixth edition of the Jerusalem Jazz Festival will, sadly, be an exclusively online – coronavirus directive – compliant affair with the various acts doing their thing, as usual, in various exhibition spaces around the Israel Museum. But there will be no audiences to witness the artists’ wizardry, in person, over the three evenings – September 8-10. Still, these days, we should be thankful for the odd crumb of artistic endeavor that comes our desperate way.
Considering the circumstances it comes as little bit of a surprise to see that perennial artistic director and internationally acclaimed trumpeter Avishai Cohen has gone for a purely local lineup, with the 13 jazz or loosely jazz-oriented bands feeding off a broad sweep of styles, rhythms and cultural references. The main jazz program will be augmented by four music-based slots shared with concurrent Israel Festival offerings.
The late celebrated pianist and educator Amit Golan gets a long overdue tribute with a bunch of his former disciples saluting the enduring imprint Golan left on them, and on the Israeli jazz community as a whole.
Interdisciplinary synergies abound across the festival roster, with the likes of feted Andalusian-colored jazz piano master Omri Mor teaming up with vocal artist extraordinaire Victoria Hanna, while the coupling of globally lauded young pianist Tom Oren and DJ-record producer and former funk-jazz-groove combo The Apples member Erez Todres looks promising.
Alon Lotringer’s pairing with fellow singer-songwriter Luna Abu Nassar should please fans of tender melodic fare and, no doubt, there will be more where that general dynamic came from in the regular Non-Standards festival berth that sees Doron Talmon, better known as vocalist with American style country-folk band Jane Bordeaux, wend her way through jazz readings of some her originals, with some bluesy seasoning thrown in.
Fans of more groove-intentioned material should dig the LBT show, with jazz drummer Amir Bresler, adventurous guitarist Yonatan Albalak and trumpeter Sefi Zisling in the mix, with the GTO Trio promising to take the lion’s share of the pure jazz plaudits with talented threesome of pianist Eden Ladin, bassist Tal Mashiach and drummer Ofri Nehemya – all fixtures on the global jazz circuit – performing works from their debut release From The Road plus, no doubt, a bunch of standards.
There will be more intriguing jazz sounds on offer courtesy of harmonica player Roni Eytan and his quartet. Eytan, who normally plies his trade stateside, made waves a couple of years ago when he became the first harmonica player to be chosen for the prestigious Herbie Hancock Institute program, formerly the Thelonious Monk Institute.
Elsewhere in the virtual three-dayer, there will some cultured ethnically-underpinned sounds from internationally renowned percussionist-vocalist Zohar Fresco and his trio, which also features a qanoun player and bansuri (Indian bamboo flute) player, while those looking for some left field jazzy fervor should be encouraged by the inclusion of Gershon Waiserfirer, who includes a tuba and oud in his instrumental arsenal, and drummer Hagai Fershtman.
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