Albert Beger & Hamid Drake at the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival

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Hamid Drake and Albert Beger at the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival/Photo: Elizur Reuveni

A strong sense of listening filled the hall, as drummer and percussionist Hamid Drake and saxophonist Albert Beger came onstage at the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival this past Tuesday, February 15, 2011. Albert stood, sax in hand, attuned to every sound and movement as Hamid began, then lifting the sax to play. There was a very open feel to the piece, at first, just a few touches of sound in the air, more air than sound, then swirling, spiraling, connecting.

They played with eyes closed, each immersed in an internal world, reaching into a reservoir of sound as long as time and as wide as the universe. They were playing as though the sounds were not so much created, as waiting somewhere to be found. Each following his own path, an inward directed search, with the music coming from the same deep source, they traveled with the music, taking all those who want to listen on that journey.

Being there was an experience of amazing intensity, as they went on to play both more structured works, based on written notes, (including a piece dedicated to saxophonist Fred Anderson (1929 – 2010), owner of the legendary Velvet Lounge in Chicago) and free form pieces.

 Later on in the evening, Hamid expressed his feeling that “the stage is really an illusion…we discovered there is a circle of energy that creates this whole thing. Where does it begin, does it begin with us or with you?…I feel the energy just is and we are lucky enough to tap into it, to be a vessel that it can flow through.”

It was the kind of concert that you remember – days later, people are still talking about it. Lucky for us, the evening was recorded live by Anova Music and will eventually be released on CD for everyone to enjoy.