The Hot Jazz series at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art proposed for its 5th concert of the season an experiment. Instead of bringing in one special guest with his band or with an Israeli band (usually in quartet formula) it joined two North American jazz instrumentalists – saxophonist Seamus Blake and drummer Rodney Green with two Israelis living in the US – guitarist Assaf Kehati and bass-player Noam Wiesenberg. I do not know if the four ever played together before as a quartet, maybe not, but jazz is also about such first time or sparse encounters, and the idea is interesting and had the potential an interesting jazz evening.

(video source lillyinjazz)

Seamus Blake is born in 1970 in England, and was raised in Canada. He entered the jazz stage in the 90s and played with the Mingus and John Scofield’s bands. He is located in New York City and has six albums on record and leads his own bands for the last few years, in a stylish and cultivated tenor saxophone style, with influences of electronic music. More information about him can be found at http://www.seamusblake.com/fr_home.cfm

(video source adrianwaj)

Rodney Green is born in Philadelphia, and since the age of 16 played in bands first in his native city and then in New York. He worked with musicians like Wynton Marsalis, Diana Kroll, George Benson, Ravi Coltrane, Herbie Hancock , Dianne Reeves. Lately he leads his own Rodney Green Group. More information can be read and music can be heard at http://www.rodneygreenmusic.com/

(video source Assafkehati)

Guitarist and composer Assaf Kehati works in Israel and for the last few years in New York and Boston. He performed at the famous Blue Note club in NYC and the the Washington DC Jazz festival. Information and music are accessible at http://www.myspace.com/assafkehati

(video source jazzeyerecords)

The program of the concert last Friday included mostly compositions by Blake and Kehati. For most of the time it was Kehati who gave the tone with intense and passionate guitar improvisations. Green and Wiesenberg stood in the background while Seamus Blake was leading the band in a mood a little bit too cool to my taste for almost the whole concert. Only in the last two pieces he suddenly woke up (maybe it was the last song announcement?) and put more passion in his acts, proving that he can really create hot jazz moments. It’s a pity the concert ended when we felt the musicians just warmed up, but the time was over. The piece above with Blake and Green (but without the Israeli instrumentalists) is from the album Live in Italy, a previous cooperation of Blake and Green.