Meet Eden Giat: A rising star in Israeli jazz

Debut album 'Crossing the Red Sea' releases April 29.

The cover of Giat’s new album. (photo credit: Courtesy)
The cover of Giat’s new album.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Crossing the Red Sea is the jazz debut album of 22-year-old Israeli pianist and composer Eden Giat, a promising new talent in the contemporary jazz scene.
Born into a musical family, Giat says that “from an early age, I listened with my dad to jazz, soul and funk music.”
Inspired by his father, Doron Giat, an accomplished drummer, he started playing and improvising with drums and percussion instruments from the age of two. At five, he asked his parents to study the piano and began taking classical piano lessons.
Most of Giat’s piano lessons were under the guidance of Maxim Steinberg, a teacher who awakened his passion and drove him to practice hard and understand classical composers’ work more deeply. He also studied jazz piano and harmony with pianist Tamir Miller.
As a youth, Eden Giat gained experience in the classical field, playing as a soloist with reputable orchestras such as the Budapest Orchestra, the Israel Chamber Orchestra and the Ashdod Symphony Orchestra.
Giat was awarded first prize in three classical piano competitions. The America-Israel Cultural Fund recognized his outstanding talent and granted him a scholarship to study jazz and classical piano for several years.
In 2013, in his search for greater self-expression and freedom, Giat decided to stop the intensive classical routine, seeking to get into improvised music and composition.
“I felt this strong urge for more freedom to express myself as a musician,” he recalls.
Consequently he entered the acclaimed Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts’ jazz department and started taking lessons with Omri Mor, who drove him to delve into jazz, groove and improvisation. Mor is a renowned jazz pianist and a frequent member of Israeli world-class bassist Avishai Cohen’s trio.
During high school, Giat went with Thelma Yellin Big Band to the US to perform at the international Jen Festival in Kentucky and also played in Washington, DC. In 2016, he joined Ravid Kahlani’s popular Yemen Blues band and toured with them in Israel and abroad.
From 2017 until 2020, Giat served in the Israeli army as an “excellent musician,“ a status that allowed him to continue his musical activity. He then returned to study classical piano, this time with Prof. Benjamin Oren.
During the same period, Eden joined the 20-year veteran Hagiga Sextet group led by Alon Farber and toured with them to notable jazz festivals around the word. He also featured in performances and recordings with Israeli bassist, Omer Avital.
In 2020, Giat played with Avishai Cohen in the Blue Note Club livestream series as well as in the Jazz in Marciac virtual festival, whose audience was restricted due to COVID-19.
Giat says about Cohen, “I grew up with his music and very much appreciate his idea to open jazz music to oriental influences. My first album by the Avishai Cohen Trio was At Home” (released in 2005, when Eden was only six.)
Asked who his role models are in jazz, he says, “John Coltrane is one of my favorites, he deeply touches me and makes me cry. I admire Bud Powell, Keith Jarrett and feel very much attracted to bebopper Charlie Parker. I admire Eroll Garner for his open mind and last but not least, I want to mention Brad Mehldau. To me he is one of the greatest contemporary pianists.”  
In 2019 Eden formed in his home town of Tel Aviv his first own band, called  the Eden Giat Quartet. The album, Crossing the Red Sea, recorded in Tel Aviv last summer, showcases four musicians from Israel’s contemporary jazz scene with Eden on piano joined by Yuval Drabkin on saxophone, bassist David Michaeli and Nitzan Birnbaum on drums.
The music written by Giat himself brings together jazz, tribal rhythms, and middle eastern colors.  Its title, Crossing the Red Sea, is inspired by the biblical exodus of the Israelites.
“For me it also symbolizes the path to an inner freedom and creativity,” he says.
Crossing the Red Sea is a fitting debut album title for a young talented Israeli musician who is set to reach a wider audience worldwide. His home page is, and the album release is on April 29.■