Monthly Archives: August 2010

On Digging

For the longest time, I’ve been trying to sift through the mess of things I have accumulated in the room that is supposed to be my studio/clinic/whatever in the five years since I’ve become a mother and the only real use the room had seen was during the war in Gaza.
Every time I start at it, full steam, and then I stumble into a memento of something or other really painful, another lost opportunity or whatever. And then life keeps happening and somebody gets sick or work takes over, and it gets forgotten. I’m really trying, though. There are quite a few things I would like to throw myself into, that I cannot do without a proper space for my work.
I would really like to finally break through with all of this digging, rather than throw dirt on my own work every time I put down the shovel for a minute.

Anyway, I found some old poetry (maybe not proper poetry, but certainly not prose) I wrote. Here’s a small selection. Bear in mind that I feel more comfortable flashing my tits at random strangers than letting people who know me read my poetry.
But it’s only when you’re really chickenshit scared about something that you have the opportunity to be brave.

—-

Here we are talking about bald men
And I’m pulling my hair out
Over bald men
Duality is so confusing
I feel drawn yet I am not to follow
All at once with having all I need
How do I know which way to go
How do I keep from going in all directions

—-

If I had a lisp
I would speak all day
I would never ever shut up
I would make myself a public figure
A celebrity of sorts
And spread my message amongst the masses

—-

You, my dear, are a handful
Peter Pan, Wendy, and the crocodile all rolled into one
You turn tables into clubhouses, closets into spaceships, refrigerators into fearsome monsters
You citizen of Disneyland
You commander of things and people large and small
You marzipan piglet
You chicken-cat
You princess
You prisoner
You pumpkin
You gefilte fish
You upside-down, kicking and screaming refugee of a hot bathtub
You backwards-writing, chatterboxing computer child
You grandma’s look-alike
You daddy’s little girl
– When are you coming back?

———-
That’s all I’m sharing for now. If I get over the crippling fear, I might share some more.

So let me finish on a different note – my inspiration for digging today:


I don’t know about you, but I think it’s beautiful.

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Girl, Uninterrupted

It’s the last night of the Red Sea Jazz Festival. I’m sitting outside at the jam session, back from the shows, and I didn’t want to wait until tomorrow to write this post, because tomorrow is going to be all about going back home and getting back into the routine. Tonight is still about jazz.

We started the evening with going to see Oz Noy, Dave Weckl, and Will Lee again.
They performed pretty much the same set they did the night before. And I didn’t care because they were every bit as badass. The show’s energy was different, maybe a bit more relaxed and even more playful, still very much incendiary. Really, I can’t add much more, except pointing out that the night before, when we were walking out of the venue after their show, I commented to Tal that the only thing that they were missing was cowbell. So today, when performing “Epistrofunk” (which Noy named after Thelonius Monk’s “Epistrophy”), Will Lee suddenly lets go of the bass guitar, yanks out a cowbell, and goes at it. I very nearly died of squee.

The next show was one I was very much looking forward to: Berry Sakharoff and Rea Mochiach, with a new project called “Ra-Ka-Tak”. Rea Mochiach, drums, electronics & vocals; Beri Sakharoff, guitar, keyboard & vocals; Amit Carmeli, bass; Itamar Duari, percussion, electronics & vocals; Omri Mor, keyboard & vocals (yes, we saw him perform with Andaloujazz the night before); and Gershon Viserfirer, oud & wind instruments (yes, we saw him perform, too, with Shem-Tov Levy, two nights before).
I should interject a disclaimer at this point: I am madly in love with Berry Sakharoff. In my eyes, the man can do no wrong. None at all.
They start off, and not unlike Sakharoff and Mochiach’s other collaborations, we are immediately cast into a dreamlike trance. Cacophony is not that frequently a good thing, but it is happening here, and it is incredible. Mind you, this show is not jazz. Not by a long shot. Sakharoff’s speciality is tying in very Mediterranean music with electrically charged rock music. But, like I said, he can do no wrong, and if he wants to play something other than jazz at a jazz festival, you’re just going to have to deal with it.
Berry sings in Arabic. I am usually blown to smithereens by his way with words, and tonight I realize that I don’t even really have to understand what he’s singing to have my guts wrenched by his voice. This is a good thing.
The various pieces in the show were very much built on dialogues between the players on stage. Carmeli sings hauntingly, somewhat evocative of a muezzin calling the believers to pray, and Viserfirer responds to him with the baritone. As their conversation proceeds, they are slowly engulfed by the rich rhythm happening on stage. Then Mor with the keyboard exchanges words with Duari’s fiendish percussions.
I was seized by the rhythm the whole show, and before I knew it, it turned out that they had run into major overtime and had to stop then and there. So they kept playing for another song or two.
It’s hard for me to describe exactly what happened there, but I figure that they will probably be touring this show around a bit. Do not miss it.
Now, I expect that by this time tomorrow, someone more enterprising than me will have posted some footage from the show on youtube, but in the meantime all I can offer is a taste of previous Sakharoff-Mochiach collaborations:

For more: this, and this.

Danilo Perez Trio
Danilo Perez is a pianist, who despite his relatively young age, has an impressive career spanning from a start with Dizzy Gillespie’s orchestra, and going onward and upwards since. We were curious, to say the least, and early listening indicated that this show was likely to be good.
He was accompanied by Adam Cruz on drums, and Ben Street, whom we had seen perform wonderfully last year with Kurt Rosenwinkel.
The first number starts with Perez alone, on the piano, and as he plays softly and peacefully, with Street and Cruz joining in shortly, I find myself thinking that a good jazz could be comparable to a long run. You try to maintain steady tempos over time, and have your recurring themes and movements, but if you’re really there to enjoy it, you’ll be taking in and absorbing all of the momentary occurrences around you. For the more difficult uphill bits, you have to break it down, and when you’re going downhill you can let loose and have gravity carry you. There is no one single moment that you’re building up to, but rather a long string of individual moments, each with its own emotion, its own warmth, its own breath. And every so often, all of a sudden, you will realize that you are, in fact, flying.
The show is just an ongoing pleasure. The sound they are making together is soft, and tender. Even the powerful moments are never aggressive. One of the best indicators of how harmonious it all felt was that Perez at some point started playing games with the audience, having us repeat beats and sing after him, and it was not in the least annoying. Usually, when performers do this, I just feel very embarrassed for them, but he was just truly playing with us, and we were glad to be a part of it.
Tal summed it up nicely, when we got out. He said that the show was very balanced, and that he emerged feeling complete and serene.

In fact, we were feeling so laid back and relaxed, that we decided to pass on the last show we were supposed to see, because once we discussed it, it turned out that neither of us really wanted to see Ricky Lee Jones. And we’re super cool with that. So now, as I said, we’re chillaxing poolside, for the last jam session of this festival. Soon we’ll go up to our room to listen from bed until sleep comes. And tomorrow we’ll pack up and go back to our normal lives, with the very sweet taste we always have at the end of August, that we’ll be back in Eilat again, in another year, and know that in the meantime, every time we hear a particularly good jazz album, we’ll almost be able to feel that warm breeze brushing at our necks.

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Here for the Music

I would like to start summarizing the third night of the Red Sea Jazz Festival by noting that I couldn’t write much last night, because some freak insect bite made use of my left hand very difficult. Imagine the embarrassment when I had to clap by touching my right hand to my shoulder. And walking around with my left hand elevated for no obvious reason… oh, never mind. I’m here for the music.

Omri Mor & Andaloujazz Project
We kicked off the evening with this Israeli trio, a classic piano trio, with Omri Mor on piano, Gilad Abro on bass, and Noam David (no relation) on drums, performing Andalucian music. This combination spawned a very colorful experience.
Abro and David really well exemplified the meaning of the term “rhythm section”, both simply being the rhythm, with their instruments, their hands, their bodies, their faces. Tal at some point kvetched to me that he found the facial expressions disturbing, but I don’t know. I thought they were just beautiful on stage.
I was especially taken with Noam David. His relationship with his drums was so vibrant and clearly fun, and he really worked them in all sorts of ways, with all sorts of rhythms, using his bare hands at times.
Omri Mor was quite wonderful himself. His use of the piano is free and inventive, and just like the rhythm section, he was clearly really enjoying himself. The general atmosphere of the show was that the players were all very engaged with the music, and with each other, communicating seamlessly onstage with a very clear language of their own.
There is no album out yet, but this is one that I will be listening for, and definitely a show worth seeing.

Jeff “Tain” Watts Quartet
Obviously, when I state in a previous post that a drummer as a frontman is an unusual choice, we’re going to have another quartet led by a drummer.
Jeff Watts, drums; Jean Toussaint, tenor and soprano sax; David Kikoski, piano; James Genus, bass. Each one of these player has an impressive track record in his own right, they’ve all been around for some time and have played with some very big names.
The show was good, solid, honest-to-god New York jazz. Watts speaks between the numbers with a laid-back sense of humor, and the good time being had on stage is infectious with the audience.
One number that particularly amused me was, as Watts put it, “a drinking song, a song about drinking, about what it feels like to be drunk,” that he named “Vodville”, after vodka. Jeff actually assumes the posture and gestures of a drunkard on the drums, and the beat he’s making is very reminiscent of a highly shitfaced lush, stumbling his way home after a bender.
As part of what turned out to be a general theme for last night, watching this show reminded me how I will forever be amazed with how jazz players manage to be in sync with each other, through improvisation and changing rhythms, as if it’s a cellular thing, and instinct.
We were not blown away with the show, but we did enjoy it very much, and really, must we always be blown away? Can we always be?
Check out a drum solo of Watts, for just a taste:

The Oz Noy trio Feat. Dave Weckl & Will Lee
Now, excuse me. I’m pretty sure the bill for this festival said “jazz” and not “rock”. Because this show rocked. If it was “blown away” that we were looking for, we found it.
Oz Noy is an internationally accomplished Israeli guitarist, with a modest stage presence, backed by the brilliant Dave Weckl on drums, and Will Lee, of the David Letterman Show, on bass. Together, they performed original pieces by Noy, charged with electric funk.
Now, on the matter of Noy. This man does not need stage presence, because he is insanely brilliant, and besides, Will Lee, with his wild child rocker mannerism, who is a full extension of his bass guitar, or maybe the other way around, has so much stage presence, there was barely room to contain all of him.
This show sort of sounded what I always imagined tripping on LSD must be like, if you’re playing Super Mario Brothers on a large screen at the same time.
This is really one of those cases in which I don’t think I can muster the words to describe the experience. “Explosive” comes to mind, as do “57 varieties of awesomesauce, and a bag of chips”, but still. We’ve decided to go see them perform again tonight, and seeing as our usual strategy for the festival is to catch as many different shows as humanly possible, this speaks more than I could say in words. Or maybe I should just let the music do the talking?
You’re going to want to raise the volume for this one. To max.

New Gary Burton Quartet
There has to be at least one show every festival in which the combination of fatigue and the more subdued ballad-type selection leads us to feel that we would have enjoyed it more if it were not so late in the night and if the people around us could have their conversations a bit more quietly.
Gary Burton, vibraphone; Scott Colley, bass; Julian Lage, guitar; Antonio Sanchez, drums.
The music was lovely, and we were especially taken with Lage on guitar. They performed an especially lovely version of “My Funny Valentine”, that once again, along with the warm night breeze, and the moon and all, put us for a while into that state of mind that I seem to be able to achieve only for the four nights a year that we are here, of this perfect calm, when you’re just at peace with the world, and you know it will be over soon, but you don’t mind, because you are in that moment, and it’s all ok.

And now I must go. Berry Sakharof has been spotted at the pool, and it is my duty to fawn and sigh.

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Like A Virgin

RSJF – 2nd night, 24.8.10
At the beginning of Musica Nuda’s second show, last night, Petra Magoni said that we can all just act like it’s a continuation of the show from the night before.
The crowd consisted of quite a few people who had seen the previous show, with a scattering of virgins, who did not yet know what pleasures await.
They did a different set than the night before, and the energy of the show was different. Yellow, not black.
With a show like theirs, it’s hard to call any specific number more memorable than others, because they are all memorable, but still, when they performed “Like A Virgin”, I could really relate to the subject matter, that it feels like being touched for the very first time.
I dunno. I could go on and on about them. They are truly amazing. She just bends the air around herself with her voice, and he is there, an anchor deep in the ground.
They had quite a few numbers there that just gave me goosebumps, and believe me. It’s too darn hot for goosebumps.

Manu Katche Third Round
It’s not typical for a jazz quartet to have a drummer as its frontman (Manu Katche, drums; Alfio Origlio, piano; Laurent Vernerey, bass; Petter Wettre, saxophone). Truth is, I do not have much to say about this show. It’s not that it wasn’t good. Clean and simple French jazz. Just the thing for Eilat’s warm summer breeze, the full moon, and a nice glass of wine. They gave a good, solid show. There was nothing particularly unique that would compel me to buy an album of theirs, but in jazz music, I think that for the most part, it’s the live ambiance that really counts, and they delivered.

Shem-Tov Levy Ensemble
Up until last year, we would rarely ever make the effort to catch the Israeli shows at the festival because the format of the program always had the Israeli shows wedged in the intervals between the international shows, and seeing an Israeli show would necessarily mean missing the edges of the international shows, or having to run around a lot between venues, without any downtime between shows.
The new format, which was introduced last year, put the Israeli shows on par with the international shows, and keeps the production committed to bring shows that are really good, so there are really no longer shows that might seem a bit like time fillers, as there used to be.
Shem Tov Levy is a prominent figure in Israeli music, whom I have always considered to be a major contributor to creating a brand of music that is very unmistakeably local. I am not going into any academic tripe, there are enough other places to get that. He performed on piano and on flute, with Zur Ben Zeev on bass, Gadi Ben Elisha on guitar, Gershon Viserfirer on oud and baritone, Sharli Sabach on oud, and Noam Chen on percussions.
Oud music. The ouds lend a deeper, more soulful sound to Levy’s already beautiful compositions and arrangements. They performed several covers of classic jazz standards last night, including “A Night In Tunisia”. First of all, on oud? Yay. Second? Whimper.
The ensemble on stage has a beautiful harmony, a genuine sense of fraternity among the players, who are just there to share their music and do it together. Their vocal harmonizing, with all singing except the percussionist, was warm and inviting. It felt like a family getting together to play.
At some point during the show, I could not hold back anymore, dumped my shoes on Tal, and went to dance with all of the teenagers, because it was just too good not to.

Stefon Harris & Blackout
I had a vague recollection of Stefon Harris from quite a while back, when Tal and I saw him in Tel Aviv. Tal at first did not remember having seen him, and then had the audacity to argue with me that it was not, as I said it was, when we were still in the service. More on that later, let’s talk about the show.
They started the show with Gershwin’s “Gone” (linky), from Porgy and Bess. Which is, in my mind, always a good place to start.

Now, visually, before they even start playing, the band sort of looks like the guest stars of a “Yo Gabba Gabba” holiday special, if there’s a holiday that celebrates space exploration. Our special guests today are the inhabitants of Planet Blackout. Super cool. Terreon Gulley on drums and Ben Williams bass make a powerful rhythm section. Tal and I at this point last night christened this “Festival of the Bass Players”, because really, so far, they’ve all been intense. Sullivan Fortner piano and keyboards is slightly evocative of that supergeek in all our lives, the one who will be typing into two separate computers at the same time (who, me?). Stefon Harris is contained between a vibraphone and a marimba, and he flits from one to the other effortlessly.
Casey Benjamin on the saxophone is really otherworldly. What madness possesses a man to wear leather pants in Eilat at the end of August? Why is he wearing a model of Eilat’s coral reef on his head? And why is he putting his sax down? What is that? A KEYTAR???!!! But wait, it gets even better. It’s not just any keytar. He’s singing and using the keytar as a vocal tuner. This, ladies and gentlemen, would have knocked my pants off, if I had been wearing pants.
It’s not even the end of the first number yet, and I am already quite inebriated, on music, no less.
The marriage between the vocal tuning and the vibraphone remind me of the first time I dipped a salted pretzel in chocolate. The thought of it might make you uncomfortable, but it is actually quite delicious.
Then, Stefon Harris says that they don’t have a set list, and that they are just going to play, and see what happens. He asks the audience to tell him which instruments start, and sax and drums are chosen. They start off, playing with each other, tossing back and forth, and you realize at some point that the other players have all come in, too. Most of the show was a state of delirium, in the epic cool of Planet Blackout. It’s a bit of a blur, but a pretty amazing blur at that.
They scored extra points with me for performing Andre 3000’s “Prototype”, which Harris said he hopes will become an American jazz standard. Since “The Love Below” came out, I’ve had a lot of respect for Mr. 3000’s ability to bring some jazz to the mainstream, and I think he has a place of right in the mainstream of jazz, as well.
I couldn’t find any good live footage that reflects the show we saw last night, but here’s Stefon Harris, to give you a feel of just how sweet this guy is.

Later, at the jam session, when I was stealing wifi again, the group sat down at the table next to ours, and we were all this crazy Apple central – Macbooks EVERYWHERE, with the occasional starry-eyed teenager coming to have hir picture taken with Stefon and get the album autographed (I cannot tell you how really cool I think it is for teenagers to be going gaga over jazz players – it gives me a lot of hope for the future of humanity).
Tal kept arguing with me about the time we saw Stefon perform in Tel Aviv, so at some point I decided to end the argument and ask the man himself. So I went up to him and told him I need him to settle the argument, and asked if he remembers what year he was in Tel Aviv. He looks at me and says, “Oh, it must have been… something like… 2003?”. Now, I’m usually right about these things, and have not yet learned not to be terribly disappointed on the rare occasions that I’m wrong. “Oh, really (*pout*)?”, I asked. “No,” he says, and points at Tal, “he just told me to tell you that. It was probably more like 2000.” So I upturned Tal’s chair and felt really vindicated.
Another victory was that after going to sleep at 5am, I managed to sleep until past noon today. Win.

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Jazz Lag

Writing about music is difficult for me, first of all because this is about as subjective a matter of opinions can get. Don’t ever be fooled by music critics who go on and on with “professional” reviews of others’ artwork. It is very simply a matter of taste, and however much we would like to tell ourselves so, there is no fixed set of criteria for quality. All music reviews boil down to “I thought it was good” or “I thought it sucked”.
Furthermore, at least for me, music is a very intimate experience, and however much I try, I can’t truly share the moment.
Having said that, here are some of the thoughts that I am capable of sharing about the shows we saw last night, the first night of the 24th Red Sea Jazz Festival.

Dave Douglas & Brass Ecstasy
Tal expressed concern at how much a group consisting of a trumpet (Dave Douglas), a trombone (Luis Bonilla), a French horn (Vincent Chancey), a tuba (Marcus Rojas), and drums (Nasheet Waits) would be able to deliver. I, on the other hand, am a sucker for brass.
The show (as did the other first show) started a good 15 minutes late. Shows at the RSJF never start late. You just don’t do that. So as grumbling was heard from the crowd about how poorly this bodes for the rest of the night, the group took the stage. A bunch of hoopy-looking froods, each one with his towel (and this stands perfectly to reason when temps are still around 38C after 8pm), and then they start playing.

So you’re lulled into thinking that maybe what you have here is a case of softcore Dixieland. Nice, I tell myself. A good way to ease myself into the atmosphere for 4 days of nonstop jazz.
And then. Then they hit you with the understanding that this is not your grandmother’s brass band. A complex, gritty, layered sound, that made the visuals image in my brain explode. Here, Douglas is scratching with the trumpet. There, Rojas is making his tuba sound like a didje, no a human, no maybe something wildly inhuman. And so on.
By the time they got around to “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry”, in which they just took us all over the place and threw us out into the water a couple of times, I was completely sold. To name the most appropriate cliche, blown away.
And thus, the first album we will be buying as a direct result of this festival was chosen.
A very promising start.

Nikki Yanofsky
This one was tricky. I’m not usually big on female singers. Most of the show I was in a heated debate with myself over whether I don’t like most female singers due to some kind of internalized misogyny or whatever. But the fact is that most female jazz singers I’ve seen (with some stunning exceptions, the likes of Robin McKelle, the stunning Didi Bridgewater, and a scant handful of others) fail to comply with my demand that all performers on stage are vessels of the music and integral parts of the ensemble. When any one performer, like the singer, for example, breaks into another player’s solo to say “let’s give it to the amazing so-and-so on guitar” or whatever, it makes me facepalm. You’re already on stage, you’re already front and center, you do not need to be attention whoring any further thank you very much.
I digress. Nikki Yanofsky is a 16 year old girl. I get the impression that she still carries herself with the slightly awkward gangliness of your average teenager. And then she opens her mouth to sing, and she really has a lovely voice. She carries her songs well, she understands what she’s singing about, she knows jazz. And then she opens her mouth to speak, and she sounds like an overenthusiatic 9 year old girl at a Justin Bieber concert, except she’s rooting for herself. So, when she sings the jazz numbers, for a while there she sounds like some sort of karaoke hero (thanks for sticking the terminology in my head, guys), vying for the title of best Ella cover. And when she sings the classic rock numbers, you feel slightly ashamed for the Eagles, Jimi Hendrix, and the Beatles (all of whom, even the ones still alive, were spinning in their graves by the end of her rendition of “Hello, Goodbye”). Her original numbers are cute. And you can’t really get why you’re not into her, but she does have quite a few of those facepalm diva moments, and every time she talks you’re reminded of the time your niece got her first Bratz doll for her 5th birthday.
So she does a number that’s all scat, and she does it brilliantly, really, and you understand that she has a lot of potential, and you really appreciate that she’s a refreshing change from all those other mass-manufactured teen pop ingenues, though she does still seem somewhat contrived and gimmicky. And you really can’t put your finger on it, but when the show is over, you’re a little relieved.

And then what happened next was really unfair, particularly to Ms. Yanofsky, but also pretty much to any other act to follow.

Musica Nuda
Tal and I were both concerned about this next one. It’s 23:30, third out of four shows for the night, not counting the jam session till dawn yet to come. We’ve been up since earlier than 7am, and had a lot of running around before his parents came to take over the kids, then drove three hours, and failed to take a nap.
Was a show with nothing but a double bass and a female singer (to the concept of which, I’ve already established, I’m impartial at best) really going to manage not to put us to sleep and ruin the night for us?
They take the stage. He looks like any run of the mill double bass player. She’s dressed in a black tank top and black ruffled skirt. She’s tiny. They stand very close to each other onstage. Just enough room between them for the bass. And after we thought we’d never ever want to hear another so-called jazzy cover of the Beatles again, they dive off the deep in straight into “All the Lonely People”. And you’re haunted and amazed. And without a word spoken, they carry on into The Police’s “Roxanne”. The show’s barely started, and already you cannot believe how much sound can come out of two instruments. Finally, Petra Magoni and Ferruccio Spinetti introduce themselves, and then go into some original songs. On stage, they are the very definition of intimacy. They are both massive virtuosos (I can’t even start to describe how much without falling into tired cliches), and they carry each other, and they are the center of the universe and they are alone and making sweet love to every single person in the audience at once. You’re not entirely sure it’s jazz they’re making, because whoa, that was just all disco, and then they went death metal, and now they’re doing opera, and it’s all tinted with just a bit of gothic black.

Ferrucio knows his stuff. He’s coaxing sounds I have never before heard out of his bass. And then he sits down, puts it in his lap and strums at it like a guitar. Because it’s not really a double bass about twice his size. If he says so, it’s a fucking ukulele.
Petra. Oh Em Gee. She has the voice of an angel. And she channels the devil. And she really is just a whole choir of demigods and fallen cherubs. She’s angry, and funny, and beautiful. There was one number she was singing alone, and thanks to her clever way of working basic sounds system effects, I was reminded of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld character of Agnes Nitt, who was capable of singing in harmony with herself. Petra does that, too.
The fact that I was not a heaving mess of tears by the middle of the show was simply because it was so arid that my tears must have evaporated upon contact with the air. I don’t recall ever having been so completely jolted by a musical performance, and I am really suggestible when it comes to music.
What made it all the more amazing is that there is not an ounce of diva-esque presumption between the two of them. So what if they are two of the most incredibly talented and amazing musicians ever to have taken the stage here at Eilat? They’re here to have fun, they want their audience to have fun, and they are utterly unaware of their possession of the upper hand in the mix.
By the end of the show, I think everyone there was willing to just have the rest of the universe shut off so we could all continue existing in the amazing place that is Musica Nuda. I know I was.
It didn’t take much for us to decide that we are going to see their second show tonight, even though it’s at the cost of seeing another show that could have potential to be fun. It might be fun, but I suspect nothing in this round of the festival is as fun as this.
As we emerged, dazed, from the venue, there were only three letters on everybody’s tongues. W, O, and W again. An army of enchanted zombies.
Tal somehow, with superhuman powers, remained conscious enough to navigate us to the on-site music store and nab the very last copy of their double album.
So this would be the point to interject that: a. If you, at all, have the chance to hop a plane to Eilat tonight and come see them (they’re on again at 20:00), you will not be sorry; and b. I have their album. You don’t. Nyah nyah nyah.

After that show, it became evident that what was wrong with the one before it, is that it was just leagues beneath it. Sorry Nikki, You can have North America. I belong to Musica Nuda.

I was seriously out of it after this show. Only natural to be completely spent after an hour and 15 minutes of nonstop climax. Still, we were on a schedule, one that we painstakingly put together with a lot of thought and consideration. So we went to see Hermeto Pascoal and his group, hailing from Brazil. I had been kind of curious about him. First of all, the man’s been around for quite some time, been playing music since he was four, with an impressive discography and performance logged in the 70 years he’s been making music. Besides that, we read up on the man that he is quite the innovative musician, playing around with playing on less conventional choices, such as produce, water, and his own beard. I really wanted to see it.

And I’ll never know, but after the intensity of just two instruments in the previous show, the vibrant sextet on stage, with their constant changing of places and instruments, was just too cacophonous for me, while Tal put it more as “too flashy”. Whatevs. We decided to walk after one or two numbers (I just wasn’t paying enough attention to really notice), and we crossed the site to the other show taking place at the same time, the Israeli March Dondurma. They’re a lot of fun, and hearing them sort of grounded me back, what with all the brass, and their interesting choice of putting their 5-person rhythm section in the center of the stage. If I had any pep left, I would have danced, because their music begs to move you with it, but I was just wasted. Will definitely be seeking out an opportunity to see them again some time soon.

So then we headed back to the hotel. This year we chose to stay at the hotel where they have the nightly jam sessions, which are a thing of coolness in their own right – pitting up budding young musicians from Israeli high schools with the international big leaguers. There were some really nice numbers, and I must admit that being able to open our room window and hear it all from bed was quite FTW. At some point before dawn, we shut the window, popped in our complementary ear plugs, and fell asleep. And because I am a shitty sleeper, I woke up less than 4 hours later. For no good reason other than jet lag. Or is it jazz lag?

I don’t know if I will have as much to say about the next nights or not. Tal was amused when I pulled out my notebook and pen last night and told him I was blogging. For now I am just enjoying the fact that I am alone, not at any risk of having to stop whatever it is I’m doing now just because somebody grabbed a toy from somebody or somebody needs juice NOW.

And, natch, playing jazz music from previous festivals on my earphones while writing these words. 🙂

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Filed under Jazz, Red Sea or Not