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.