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August 23, 2002 - Image 89

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2002-08-23

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Picnic Barbeque for 40 • Deli Party Trays for 40

Israel Gets
Into The Groove

Israeli jazz musicians jam everywhere
from Eilat to midtown Manhattan.

ences at the famous Knitting Factory
and other venues on a regular basis.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency
Lebovich says Israel's love of culture
, alafel. Regional conflict.
explains the success of its musicians.
Sunshine. These are three
"For a small population, Israel is
things one normally thinks
probably the most intense culture on
about when it comes to Israel.
the planet, and the musicians are as
Nov Israel has a new product: jazz.
well-trained as musicians anywhere,"
During the past decade, Israel has
he said.
begun exporting increasing numbers
The fast pace of Israeli life makes it
of jazz musicians to the United States,
an ideal place to nurture jazz, he
especially New York, and
added. "The tempo of
has become the venue for
Israel life, certainly in Tel
some high-profile concerts.
Aviv, is very close to the
The Israeli jazz scene
way things are in New
began around 40 years ago
and, for the first couple of
At the same time, Israel
decades, was largely sus-
also is importing more jazz.
tained by drummer Arele
Israel now hosts several
Kaminsky and reed player
prominent international
Roman Kuntsman. In
jazz events, such as the
recent years, however,
annual Red Sea Jazz
Israeli export: Jazz
Israeli exports have made
bassist Avishai Cohen. - Festival in Eilat, which
quite a splash.
attract some of the top
Since arriving in the Big
names in world jazz.
Apple in 1992, bassist

Since its inception in
Avishai Cohen, 30, has played with
1987, the Eilat event has played host
numerous top artists, released three
to numerous stellar jazz musicians,
well-received albums and contributed
including Corea, trumpeter Clark
production skills on several colleagues'
Terry and the late French violinist
recordings. Establishinab himself as one Stephane Grappelli.
of the sweetest-sounding jazz bassists
Israel is a small country, however,
in the United States, he currently plays and at the end of the day there are
with pianist Chick Corea's band.
only so many events and venues aspir-
Fellow bassist Omer Avital and
ing young musicians can play before
trombonist Avi Lebovich landed in
they begin looking toward the broader
New York on the same day as Cohen.
horizons of the United States.
Avital heads up the New York-based
As it has been for three-quarters of a
Omer Avital Group, and Lebovich has
century, New York is still the mecca of
collaborated with stars such as trom-
the jazz world.
bonist Slide Hampton and is frequent-
Despite similarities between the pace
ly on the road in the United States
of life in New York and Tel Aviv, life
and Europe.
in New York is far different from that
Then there is saxophonist Eli
in Israel. And, like countless American
Degibri who, until recently, was a
musicians who moved to New York,
member of pianist Herbie Hancock's
Israeli musicians generally take a while
to get in the groove.
A relatively recent Israeli arrival in
"I was totally in shock for the first
the United States, a trumpeter also
year," says Kaplan, who moved to
named Avishai Cohen, is already in
New York in 1991.
great demand.
"New York scared me a bit so I
Israel also has provided New York
spent most of my time in a rehearsal
with some avant-garde talent, includ-
room.. Today, I thrive on the intense
ing reed players Assif Tsahar and Ori
energy of the place. I know it's a bit
Kaplan. The two are wowing audi-
mad, but I love it." 0



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