The Red Sea Jazz Festival, our longest-running event in the improvisational musical field, is looming large on the horizon. The 2023 edition is due to take place down in Eilat on November 16-18.
The 37th rollout proffers the usual programmatic hybrid of local bands and big names from abroad, and there is a fitting tribute to Dubi Lenz, founding artistic director of the winter version of the festival and co-director of the main event, who passed away earlier this year. All the shows take place at the Eilat port in, presumably, far more comfortable meteorological conditions than the summer calendar slot of old.
This year artistic director Yossi Fine – an internationally acclaimed musician in his own right – teamed up with cultural entrepreneur Niva Amali-Maoz to compile a lineup that they hope will bring the crowds back down South.
What's the lineup at the Red Sea Jazz Festival?
Robert Glasper should certainly generate healthy ticket sales on the first day of the festival. The frontier-pushing American pianist Omri Mor should set the Eilat crowd alight with his quartet of a DJ, bassist, and drummer. Then there is celebrated Japanese ivory tickler Hiromi Uehara – known simply as Hiromi – returning to Eilat, this time with her new Sonicwonder project backed by an electric quartet that pumps out the grooves.
Saxophonist Kenny Garrett has always proved a popular act here over the years, and this time the altoist will arrive with five instrumentalists augmented by Cuban multidisciplinary artist Melvis Santa, who takes the vocalist slot for the occasion.
And there is plenty of quality to catch on the domestic front too, with the likes of longtime New York resident Israeli bassist Omer Avital and his quintet due to strut the Eilat Port boards. The confluence of Israeli Andalusian-leaning jazz pianist and Moroccan vocalist-instrumentalist Mehdi Nassouli, with three more Moroccan musicians steeped in Gnawa traditions in the lineup, should do the emotive entertaining business.
Other Israeli shows to look out for include drummer Ofri Nehemya and his quartet playing material from Nehemya’s debut release, fellow skin pounder 22-year-old Roni Kaspi and her trio, adventuresome pianist Katia Toobool and her threesome, and harmonica wiz Roni Eytan with his quintet.
There is also a salute to the late, great American saxophonist-composer Wayne Shorter, and a much-anticipated return to these shores by envelope-flexing American band The Bad Plus, with a new lineup. British saxophonist Camilla George brings some Afro-jazz to the southern fray, and Cuban piano virtuoso Alfredo Rodriguez fronts a high-powered trio.
On the “beyond jazz” side of the festival tracks, the funky pop band Hadorbanim reunites in Eilat, and seasoned singer-songwriter Rami Kleinstein joins forces with folk-country style trio Jane Bordeaux.
For tickets and more information, visit redseajazz.co.il/en