A revolution took place by the mid of the 20th century in American and world music. Jazz, which was until then music for mostly dance and mass entertainment split its ways into several distinct currents, giving birth to rock and roll, to soul, to rhythm and blues. Yes, I know this presentation is quite a simplistic view, but at that time, while other genres were taking up in entertainment dominating the hit parades, radio programs and TV shows, jazz itself evolved to a much more sophisticated form of expression. A bunch of post-WWII jazz musicians changed and developed the sound of jazz making and blew up its boundaries. Among them, together with Charlie Parker and Miles Davies, one of the most important was John Coltrane. “Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary” is dedicated to his life, music and legacy. These exceptional artists toured the world and made of jazz a universal art and one of the greatest contributions of America to the culture of the world.





The documentary written and directed by is built on a pattern used by many musical documentary films. It follows closely the life and biography of the artists, uses images filmed and recorded in concerts to illustrate his music, gathers testimonies from family, from jazz fans and experts, from the artists who worked with Coltrane and who came later and were influenced by him. Family members tell about the man he was (moving testimonies by his two step-daughters) and his personal life not avoiding the crisis related to drugs and faith. Musicians who played with him or who came after him talk about his music, and this was the part I valued most (including people like , , , , ). An interesting segments speaks about his tour to Japan (his last) and the special relationship he had with this country. Coltrane seems to not have left any filmed interview, or the makers of this film did not have access to it, but he left quite a lot of memorable quotes and written stories about his life and music, which are read by . The actor (who does not appear in the film) bears actually an amazing physical resemblance with Coltrane, so if there ever (or soon) will be a feature film about him, he is the best candidate for the lead role. It is music however that speaks best, and if you have the chance to watch this film and listen to the soundtrack in a cinema with good audio conditions, it will be a win. It’s not a ground-shaking documentary film, but it’s a complete and respectful homage to one of the greatest musicians in history, a man who in a rather short life and career changed the course of music taking it into new territories.

The full film (which I have seen yesterday at the EPOS art films festival in Tel Aviv) is available on youTube at


(video source Repórter Lata)






We enjoyed last night one of the best concerts in the last few years in the ‘Hot Jazz’ series at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. The band was composed of fine American and Israeli musicians who got together for a very satisfying performance. Antonio Hart – the band leader tonight – is an accomplished saxophonist and a recognized jazz teacher, he demonstrated personality and musical skills that cover many jazz genres fusioned in a free envelope. Wayne Tucker is one of the finest trumpet musicians I have ever listened to, his sound succeeds to be both crisp and silky. Hila Kulik grew up during her New York years from being a great talent to the status of a fine musician, and was tonight completely at peer with her American partners. Tamir Shmerling was a revelation at bass, I am looking forward to hear great music from him in the coming years. Shay Zelman drummed as he always does.



A sample of Antonio Hart’s music – ‘Stars Fell on Alabama’ recorded at the 2010 Taichung Jazz Festival.


‘Stars Fell on Alabama’ is a jazz standard composed by Frank Perkins with lyrics by Mitchell Parish. Singers like Ella Fitzgerald with Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Billie Holiday, Anita O’Day, and Dean Martin interpreted it, with musicians such as John Coltrane, Stan Getz and Ben Webster providing their own versions of the musical score.

The Taichung jazz festival is held yearly in Taiwan since 2003.

More about Antonio Hart:

‘Antonio Hart has been long recognized as one of the most talented instrumentalist of his generation. In recent years he has been recognized as an important jazz educator. In his 20 years as a professional musician he has performed and recorded with many jazz greats from Dizzy Gillespie, Roy Hargrove, Nancy Wilson, Nat Adderley, and McCoy Tyner to Dave Holland. Hart’s study of Jazz began at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. There, he studied with Bill Pierce, Andy McGhee and Joe Viola. The three teachers gave him the foundation he needed to develop into a professional musician. Because of the lessons learned at the Baltimore School for the Arts, Hart really thought it was important to have a balance between music and academia, so in his sophomore year he became a Music Education Major. He made many friends at Berklee, but the most important was Roy Hargrove. They spent three years touring the world and recording Hargrove’s first three records. Hart considers Hargrove to be his brother in life and music. He even used Hargrove on his first recording “For the First Time”. After graduating from Berklee College of Music, Hart also worked on a Master’s Degree at Queens College. There he had the opportunity to learn from the great Jimmy Heath and Donald Byrd. Hart felt blessed and honored when Mr. Heath produced his second recording “Don’t You Know I Care.” His 1997 release, ‘Here I Stand’ Impulse records, earned Hart a 1997 Grammy nomination for “Best Jazz Instrumental Solo’ He has also been in much demand as a guest on over 100 recordings, and seven CDs as a leader. The latest, ‘All we Need’ Chiaroscuro Records. After 12 years at Queens College Hart was promoted to Full Professor. Hart also maintains an extensive performance schedule and continues to conduct workshops and clinics throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He feels very blessed to have the balance of teaching, as well as, traveling around the world. In his off time, he practices martial arts, and listens to other styles of music for inspiration. Hart is constantly trying to honor his many teachers by continuing to study music and teach to the best of his ability.’

(source http://antoniohart.com/about-us/)



(video source tyraelcgm)


When I first heard Wayne Tucker I immediately fell in love with the sound of his trumpet, his perfect mastering of the instrument, the sensibility and power of his interpretations.

Here he is playing solo a British popular song written in 1939 with lyrics by Eric Maschwitz and music by Manning Sherwin named “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square”. Written shortly before the outbreak of WWII the song became soon very popular in Great Britain being first performed in the London revue New Faces by Judy Campbell (the mother of Jane Birkin). In the US Glenn Miller and His Orchestra recorded the song with a Ray Eberle vocal in New York City on Oct. 11, 1940. Fritz Lang used the music in a 1941 film. Later it became one of the most popular songs associated with WWII on both sides of the Atlantic, with singers like Rod Stewart, Perry Como, or Petula Clark offering their versions and bands like Glen Miller’s, Brian Setzer’s and Sonny Rollins’ offering their instrumental versions.

(source https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Nightingale_Sang_in_Berkeley_Square)





Hila Kulik and Wayne Tucker playing music together.

The song belongs to the Israeli popular music composer Sasha Argov (1914 – 1995).

The youTube recording is dated November 2015.


(video source Hila Kulik)

I keep wondering what a burden and a responsibility is for an artist to carry the name of a famous father. It’s a great responsibility, it also may be a heavy burden, as people looking or listening to his art (and it does not matter that much if it is music, or painting, or other forms of art expression) cannot and will not avoid making comparisons. Ravi Coltrane was only 2 years old when his famous father died and being the son of one of the most famous saxophonists and composers in the history of jazz must have been a mixed blessing – opening him doors and ears, but also calling for the permanent comparison, especially as Ravi chose the same instrument as a way of expression. While he refused for a long time to embrace the repertoire of his father, he does not seem to have escaped his musical influence. Now, when he crossed the line of the number of years lived by his father and is an accomplished and recognized name of his own, he can trace back his artistic influences to a number of musicians at their peak between the 50s and the 70s, names like Miles Davis, Bill Evans, and yes - John Coltrane.




It’s the third time that Ravi Coltrane comes to Tel Aviv, it is the first time I had the opportunity of seeing and listening to him live. He is one of these musicians who does not try to dominate the stage. The whole set was composed out of five or six pieces, around twenty minutes each, leaving time for all the members of the quintet to bring in their talent and to develop their own versions of the theme in a free manner. Ravi even leaves the stage most of the time when he does not play trying to enhance the vision of a performance as a team work. In this Ravi Coltrane Quintet the emphasis is not on Ravi Coltrane but on the Quintet, a fine gathering of free-style post-bop musicians.


(video source Zycopolis)


To understand Ravi Coltrane’s music I am bringing here one of the pieces that I found on youTube with Ravi playing with McCoy Tyner. The great pianist who is now 85 and still active (I saw him in Israel last year) was a member in John Coltrane’s most famous band in the 60s. Kind of a living link connecting the two Coltrane generations.


(video source music1900jbp)


The other exquisite artist in his band is trumpeter Ralph Alessi, who also composed some of the pieces on their most recent album Spirit Fiction, including the piece above, which was also played Tuesday in Tel Aviv, at the Zappa Club.


(video source Gadi Lehavi Videos)


For the last piece, Ravi invited on stage the young pianist Gadi Lehavi, who who will be 17 next week. He played on stage with Ravi  – what a great opportunity for this young artist, who is already active for three years on the Israeli and world jazz stage. It’s actually not their first encounter, Ravi discovered Gadi a few years ago, they already played together in New York at the Village Vanguard and Birdland jazz clubs. Gadi also played already with a number of other well known contemporary artist, among which Chick Corea and Bobby McFerrin.

Bass usually takes a back seat in jazz performances. Starting with the location on the stage, where the bass is relegated to the back of the stage (maybe no to dwarf the other instruments some will say) and especially in sounds where the it provides tonal counterpoint and rhythmic support. However in a typical jazz concert the bassists have at best a few solos. Not when Avishai Cohen and one of his bands is on stage! One of the things that is different is that with Cohen the bass dominates the show, is in the center and directing everything else that happens from a musical point of view, not to speak of Cohen’s own personality. Now, after having followed the show last night at the Zappa Club in Tel Aviv I need to get back to his older recordings with musicians like Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Bobby McFerrin, Roy Hargrove to see and hear again how he performed when he was part of the band or supporting other musicians.




The band last night at Zappa was not his usual trio (or the one he was performing with all over the world during the last year. Pianist Nitai Hershkowitz is the latest revelation of Cohen, and he is excellent – warm, articulated, with a rich sound and perfect understanding of Cohen’s musical soul. I was less impressed by the guest drummer, the Spanish Jorge Rossi – he is OK but not at the level of Cohen and Hershkowitz, but his presence was fine for the last ‘Spanish/South-American’ part of the show. Cohen himself was impressive, he is at the pick of his strength and maturity, he covers the whole stage and makes the audience vibrate despite of the fact that his music is almost at no moment ‘easy’, he relates to his instrument as to a peer with whom he dances and makes love to, and gets some of the best possible sounds.


(video source Avishai Cohen Music)


I found on the Internet a full concert of Cohen with his (original) trio from 2012, with many lines of similarity in duration and music with what he did last night in Tel Aviv. His music is complex and sophisticated, piano and bass have almost equal parts, and most of the compositions inspired (also) from the Jewish ethos and Bible characters have personality and dramatic power. If he is around your place (he will be in Romania later this spring for example) do not miss him!


An encounter between jazz and opera is an intriguing proposal. Jazz of course takes inspiration from all places, but opera and jazz are considered two quite distinct disciplines, with apparently few people enjoying both genres and even fewer musicians knowing, understanding, loving both and bringing them together. The opportunity of meeting one of these musicians is thus a rare event, and thanks to the Hot Jazz series at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art for creating this opportunity last night.



Mike Del Ferro has a classical formation, but switched to jazz quite early and built upon it all his career. His father was an opera singer, but for quite a while his jazz inspiration was taken from the music he met during his extensive travel around the world – Asia, Africa, South America. It’s only recently that he returned to the music that must have impregnated his childhood, and the fusion he is created is both expressive, reverent to the sources, and full of the freedom of imagination and creation that jazz allows. His style is quite original, he seems to be playing permanently with the piano, fighting and challenging the instrument, and the result is energetic in many moments, melancholic in other, catching the audience inside permanently.


(video source edovansanten)


The evening and Del Ferro were blessed by the presence of an experienced and talented group of Israeli accompanying musicians. Saxophonist Amikam Kimelman has an impressive stature on stage and good technique.  Bassist Simon Starr (who made alyah from Australia three years ago) had only two solos the whole evening, and I would like to listen to him more. The drummer last night was Eitan Itzkowitz who was skilled and expressive during his solos, discrete and supportive of the other musicians during the whole evening. The program included jazz versions of arias and orchestral preludes of several very popular operas as well as of Neapolitan canzonettas so close to the tradition of the Italian bel canto.

The last concert with this program is scheduled for tonight in Haifa and is worth attending for these who have the opportunity. Mike Del Ferro’s Web site can be seen at http://www.mikedelferro.com/.

Evan Christopher was back last week in Tel Aviv, three years after his tour here, and it was a great opportunity to see and listen to him again in the 3rd concert of the Hot Jazz season at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art.


source http://www.facebook.com/pages/%D7%92%D7%90%D7%96-%D7%97%D7%9D/173951125964161?ref=ts&fref=ts


California-born Christopher set base in New Orleans, which is one of the principal sources of inspiration for his style and repertory. The second one is the French manouche style which he became familiar with during his residency in France, after hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans.


(video source klikonojazz)


The evening was dedicated to the New Orleans music and to saxophonist and clarinetist Sidney Bechet. Born in New Orleans in a Creole family Bechet’s carrier had up to a point similarities to Christopher. He also had the occasion to know European music and especially French jazz, the first time in the 1920s as a member of the Revue Nègre band, that included Josephine Baker, and later in the 1950s, when he settled in France, where he died in 1959. He knew Django Reinhardt and the hot jazz guitar (manouche) style. Here is one of the pieces from Bechet’s repertory played last Friday by Christopher, Petite Fleur, as recorded by Bechet in concert at Olympia in 1954.


(video source Desdemona2002)


The only clip I could find on youTube with the image of Sidney Bechet playing live was a version of St. Louis Blues.


(video source Gypsy Jazz School)


One of the interesting aspects of the Hot Jazz series is the meeting of the foreign guests with the local musicians. it’s always interesting to see the dialog between cultures and styles taking place in the language of jazz. Christopher’s partners last Friday were the Israeli group Swing de Gitanes composed of Yaakov Hoter and Alon Sagi on guitar and the excellent contra-bass player Oren Sagi. The three young musicians make gypsy jazz, here they are playing Tchavolo Swing.


(video source Dave Kelbie)


Much of the music that Christopher does today is also manouche. Here is one of the best examples I could find on the Internet, with one of the bands with one of the groups he created in France Django a la Creole (the name says it all about the fusion of New Orleans and French jazz traditions) doing the Farewell Blues. Do I hear echoes from Hora Staccato in the introduction?


(video source MarioMaccaferriRules)


Last, you can listen to another played by Evan Christopher on Friday in the concert in Tel Aviv – Songe d’automne - here is the version played together with The Rosenberg Trio.

The first evening in the Hot Jazz series at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art this year that I am attending (it was actually the second one, but I missed the first because of my professional trip in November) provided a revelation in meeting one of the best saxophonists today – Joel Frahm. This is not his first visit to Israel, he seems to have been here a few times, and enjoy it. And yes – I and the audiences here enjoy listening to him and to his music.


source http://www.nepr.net/blog/joel-frahm-storytelling-tenor


A classmate of Bred Mehldau at at Hall High School Wisconsin-born Frahm is a powerful gifted blower, who turns his capacity into the talent of creating a sound which is strong in volume, velvety in texture and complex in structure. He can take themes from standards and combine them into a story that becomes his owns and he drives the musicians playing with him, encourages them, appreciates them. He seems to feel equally at ease in swing and in blues. Watching him play is an experience not only because of his sound but also because of his attitude which one feels is full of respect and empathy for the musicians he is playing with and especially with his audiences.


(video source CultureBuzzIsrael)


Here is an interview he gave in Israel last week at the occasion of the visit. He speaks not only about the tour but also about the other Israeli music he met and worked with.


(video source dlhau)


Above is an excerpt of his music, but not from the last Friday concert. The show in Tel Aviv appropriately started with a tribute and dedication to Dave Bruebeck and continued with a lot of the music composed and inspired by Sonny Rollins.  The partner to Frahm for the tour was Israeli saxophonist Amit Friedman, a personality of his own about whom I plan to research, listen and maybe write more in the future. I have already noticed and mentioned bass player Gilad Abro and he did not disappointed me. I was not enthusiastic about pianist Hod Moshonov, neither did Shay Zelman break his routine.

Joel Frahm’s Web site is available here.

I first saw and listened to Madeleine Peyroux’s music in the mid-90s. The performance was filmed at one of the major jazz festivals, maybe the one in Montreal, but I am no longer sure. She was in her mid 20s, young, beautiful and with a powerful voice. I immediately placed her high on my appreciation scale, as one of the potential divas of the coming decades.


(video source Nando Moraes)


Somehow my prediction did not fully come true. Soon after she disappeared from the front of the international musical scene, and when she came back she did not seem to fully accomplish her potential. One of the reasons I believe is that Peyroux is too respectful to the traditions she is in love with – classical vocal jazz, French chansonettes and the big ballad artists (Dylan, Leonard Cohen). She is the perfect performer to take a famous song and give it a completely new life that makes you forget the original interpretation. She does not compose too many original songs, or maybe she does not play enough of them, although the ones I heard are all original. They are however too few to create her the musical basis to become one of the divas. Maybe she foes not thrive to become one.


(video source JazzStationBZ)


The Georgia-born Madeleine Peyroux played in the last years in many famous places, she appeared in prestigious series like the Abbey Road Studio Recordings. And she is an excellent live performer, as I could see last night at the Reading 3 club in Tel Aviv, a stop in a tour which will further take her to France, Turkey and the US.



Peyroux impresses as soon as she starts singing. A tall and powerful woman close to her 40s she is not any longer the beautiful young girl I remembered, but as soon as she talks you feel her non-formal and direct personality, and as soon as she sings you cannot but vibrate to her strong and yet so sensitive voice. A first (non-Obama :-) ) joke established immediately the relation with the audience, she explains her music in simple words and in a style that seriously asks you not to take her too seriously.


(video source kinkradio)


Every instrumental sequence is listened with attention and appreciated by her as leader of the band. Gary Versace at piano and organ reached incandescence in a couple of pieces, and guitarist John Harrington also demonstrated that he is a fine musician. I was not enthusiastic about Israeli-born bass player Barak Mori (too slow to my taste) but I enjoyed the local guest performer trumpet player Avishai Cohen.


(video source okeydokeyy)


The program was a combination of classical jazz, soul (‘I Can’t Stop Loving You’), ballads and two or maybe three original songs which just proved what a fine musician Peyroux can be.




Among the last songs of the evening Peyroux sand a song in French (which she does in every show as a salute to her French ancestry) and Leonard Cohen’s Dancing to the End of Love which she re-created in a manner that made an enthusiast even of a non-fan of Cohen as I happen to be.

The Web site of the artist can be found at http://madeleinepeyroux.com/.


The Hot Jazz series at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art continue their exploration in the contemporary international jazz landscape, and the diversity of the artists and sounds brought up to the Israeli scene of jazz is one of the reasons for which it continues to draw interest, and actually I have the feeling that the interest is growing. Ziv Ben, the promoter and soul of the series presented last night the next season highlights, again eight concerts, again most if not all bring up new sounds and interesting musicians.


(video source martincongahead)


Arguably, the music played last night belongs less to jazz and more to the world music or Latin music genres. Labels however matter too little for me when it comes to professionalism and passion and these were present last night on the stage and in the sound played by Igor Arias Baro, the Cuban percussionist and singer who was the guest star of the evening, and the seven Israeli musicians who gradually filled the stage and played with him. Igor is not a very well known name on the scene of Cuban music (not to me in any case) and the few clips of his I found on youTube caught him playing in a restaurant and on the scene of a festival which is not one of the most famous. He does have however a good technique as a percussionist, a deep and strong voice and a vocalist and the charisma on stage mixed with a sense of humor which helped him raise up until the end of the performance most of the rather geriatric audience in the Tel Aviv hall, to dance and applaud him and the other musicians.


(video source Luisecc)


Supporting him on the stage last night were a band of Israeli musicians, some of them with Latin-American roots, all doing a good job (even Shay Zalman took the back row for an evening and played in a well-integrated manner together with the rest of the musicians). It was not a perfect sound, but you do not need it necessarily in Latin music, where rhythm and passion are more important. I must wrote doen however one more name, the pianist last night was Itay Abramovitch who demonstrated in a couple of songs good technique and personality at the piano connecting the music last night with the world of jazz that is the main theme of the ‘Hot Jazz’ series.




Some of my finest and dearest memories are of having seen live a few of the jazz giants I had the chance to be contemporary with. Among them Thelonius Monk, Lionel Hampton, Dave Brubeck, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Chick Correa.  I was looking forward to hear and see playing live pianist McCoy Tyner who gave one concert last night in Petakh-Tikvah.



(video source mariobq)


McCoy Tyner’s first meeting with fame took place in 1960 when at the age of 22 he joined the famous John Coltrane Quartet led by Coltrane (tenor sax), with Jimmy Garrison (bass) and Elvin Jones (drums). It was the time when Coltrane recorded his first great album ‘My Favorite Things’ and continued to play and make records for the next five years with one of the greatest bands in the history of jazz. By 1965 when Coltrane continued to experiment and invent, entering the free jazz universe Tyner who was more conservative and tied to the melodic school of classic American jazz left Coltrane to start an independent career.


(video source jazzster123)


Most of his great successes in concerts and records belong to the trio formula – typically with bass and drums joining Tyner’s piano which carries most of the melodic line (when he is not joined by guitar or saxophone musicians). Here he is in 1989, together with Avery Sharpe – bass and Aaron Scott – drums, playing Monk’s Dream.


(video source peterw99)


A more recent recording dates from 2002 in Marciac, with Avery Sharpe again at bass and Al Foster on drums. The formula is pretty simple, a strong melodic introduction in many cases with a classic music ambiance, followed by generous opportunities for the bass and drums in developing, reinterpreting, and improvising on the theme, with a crescendo reunion dominated by the sound universe created by the piano towards the end. Round, balanced, beautiful!



The concert last night was not part of the Hot Jazz series I am usually attending and I frankly missed this. I will not comment on the price of the tickets, yes it was more than double of the one for a concert in the series, but I and the other fans would probably have paid even more to see and hear Tyner. However, at any price I would have expected the Zappa Club who organized the concert to print at least a basic leaflet introducing the artists playing together as part of the trio. Acoustics were mediocre, a little better after the break. Tyner himself was great, he has a sound that fills the air and envelops everything around in music. He looked however frail, tired or maybe just the age puts a tag, and the end of the concert seemed abrupt, with the musicians never returning to the stage even to thank and acknowledge the fans who stayed and applauded for minutes. This was a little strange and disappointing.


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