The Israeli Jazz Showcase is back!

This Sunday, April 10 at The Rex Hotel, we're proud to be a presenting partner of the third annual Israeli Jazz Showcase. It should be an outstanding night - emerging jazz harmonica player (harmonicist?) Roni Eytan joins us from Boston with his quartet, and one of the most exciting trumpeters in jazz, Avishai Cohen, brings his quartet.

I've seen Roni Eytan in concert only once - but he left an impression. Last summer, as part of the Panamania celebrations, Lula Lounge spearheaded a concert at Koerner Hall featuring a stellar lineup: Danilo Perez, John Patitucci, Brian Blade, Miguel Zenon, the Berklee Global Jazz Institute, Jane Bunnett and a big band of Toronto's top musicians under the direction of Roberto Occhipinti. It was a special show, featuring the premiere of a new suite by Danilo Perez; Roni was featured as a member of the group from Berklee. Now, I'm amazed by anyone with any sort of proficiency on the harmonica - it's an instrument I've never tried and do not totally understand (beyond the basics). So to hear Roni play that night was illuminating: not only did he demonstrate proficiency on the instrument, he swung like crazy and his soloing was just as fiery as the other musicians on stage. I'm looking forward to seeing him on Sunday in a band under his leadership, performing his compositions - I'm sure you'll be knocked out too. Joining Roni will be Lefteris Kordis on piano, Tamir Shmerling on bass and Dor Hershkovitz on drums.

Avishai Cohen, on the other hand, I've seen play a few times - in bands under his own name, as a side musician and as a member of the SF Jazz Collective. So, in case you didn't already know, I'm a trumpet player (trumpet owner?) - which is why I get so excited by Avishai's playing. Over the years, as players have sought (in my opinion) to demonstrate more and more technical proficiency to separate themselves from the rest, I feel that some have sacrificed melody - fundamental to improvised solos - in favour of technical fireworks. To me, Avishai is a great example of a player whose technical proficiency facilitates - rather than overshadows - his melodic playing. He can get around the horn as well as anyone; but when I hear him solo, I hear real melodic content. As a trumpeter, I therefore get excited on two levels: I'm inspired by his facility on the instrument, and I'm always listening keenly to how he creates melody when soloing. (Which is why I'm such a fan of Ingrid Jensen's - I feel she achieves the same balance.) On Sunday, Avishai will be playing music from his most recent CD (and ECM debut) Into the Silence; joining him will be the pretty not bad (read: whoa) lineup of Jason Lindner on piano, Tal Mashiach on bass and Nasheet Waits on drums.

The Israeli Jazz Showcase is the final event of the 2017 Spotlight on Israeli Culture, and has once again this year been made possible by the generous support of the Canada-Israel Cultural Foundation and the Israeli Consulate. Complete details, including artist bios, are available on the Showcase concert page.

Sunday's show begins shortly after 8 pm - best to arrive early to ensure you get a seat. Admission is $20 at the door.

It should be a fantastic night - I hope to see you there!


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