Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Israeli Musicians in the Big Apple

Many Israeli jazz musicians live and work in New York, reports Alexander Gelfand (Haaretz). The bassist Omer Avital was one of the first, arriving in New York in 1992 and soon working with the bassist Avishai Cohen and the trombonist Avi Leibovitch. The Greenwich Village club Smalls became a favorite hangout, and the label Smalls Records released a number of records by Israeli musicians. In the early 1990s there was practically no Israeli jazz scene. Then came several strong jazz education programs plus musicians studying jazz in the United States before either returning or staying in New York. Apart from referring to traditional Middle Eastern music, Israeli musicians prove to be quite eclectic, Leibovitch working with the Chilean singer Claudia Acuna, or Anat Cohen leading her own Brazilian choro outfit. Israel is an immigrant country, explains Cohen, so it's no wonder Israeli musicians are open to world music.

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