Jerusalem Jazz Festival 2019: Preview

Jerusalem Jazz Festival/Photo: Sara Gur Lavie

Experience the exhilarating diversity of the contemporary jazz scene at the Jerusalem Jazz Festival, in the unique atmosphere of the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Now in its 5th edition, the festival will take place from December 4 – 6, 2019. The Jerusalem Jazz Festival is the international flagship program of the Israel Festival in cooperation with the Yellow Submarine and the Israel Museum, and under the artistic direction of renowned musician and trumpeter Avishai Cohen, the festival features artistic collaborations between musicians, pop-up shows, professional workshops, all-night jam sessions, a student stage and a special program for children.

Performing artists at the festival include: Becca Stevens (USA), Soweto Kinch Trio (UK), Tiloun (Réunion Island), Bohuslän Big Band & Avishai Cohen (Sweden); DOMi & JD Beck (USA); Li Xiaochuan Quintet (China); Abel Selaocoe (South Africa); The Great Gehenna Choir; Shye Ben Tzur; Abate Berihun; Liquid Saloon; Yuval Cohen; Maya Belzitsman; Shalosh and more…

Don’t miss the jam sessions at the Yellow Submarine, Wednesday, December 4th and Thursday, December 5th, from 23:30 onward. Admission is free to the jam sessions and there will be transportation from the Israel Museum to the Yellow Submarine from 23:00. The Israel Museum will open its gates each evening at 18:30, and on Friday at 11:00am. Solo (one-day), Duo (two-day), and Trio (three-day) tickets may be purchased, offering admission to all musical programs. The full schedule, information and tickets are available on the Jerusalem Jazz Festival website.

Jerusalem Jazz Festival 2019:

Both Sides of Africa

Nani Noam Vazana and Abel Selaocoe (Israel/South Africa)

Abel Selaocoe’s music travels between classical chamber music, South African folk music, ancient rhythms and singing in the language of Zulu. Nani Noam Vazana brings to the stage the North African music and traditional Sephardic singing in Ladino laced with flamenco influences. In a collaborative show that unfolds a wealth of stories and beats, Vazana and Selaocoe bring together the two sides of Africa, melding it into an unprecedented musical celebration.

Nani Noam Vazana (composition, vocals, piano, trombone), Abel Selaocoe (cello), Ayoze de Alejandro (percussion), Pablo Dominguez (guitar(

Wednesday, December 4 at 22:30; Friday, December 6 at 12:00

Becca Stevens/Photo by David Goddard

Becca Stevens (USA)

Becca Stevens fuses vocal harmonies and sophisticated jazz with touches of Irish/Appalachian folk, indie, pop, and west African music.  Stevens has collaborated with many musicians, including folk legend David Crosby. Her latest released album Regina was described as “Majestic, delicate pop arrangements in perfect harmony with the royal theme” with “an artistic, intellectual and feminist approach which reminds us very much of Tori Amos.”

Becca Stevens (vocals and music), Michelle Willis (vocals and keyboard), Chris Tordini (bass(

Wednesday, December 4 at 19:00; Friday, December 6 at 14:00


DOMi & JD Beck (USA)

French keyboardist DOMi (Domitille Degalle) and American drummer JD Beck are two of the outstanding new voices of the future-sonic jazz movement. The duo takes apart and recomposes jazz elements with impressive virtuosity. 16-year-old Beck creates live hip-hop breakbeats on which DOMi paints surprising harmonies and new world melodies.

DOMi (keyboard), JD Beck (drums)

Wednesday, December 4 at 21:30; Thursday, December 5 at 21:30


Tiloun (Réunion Island)

Tiloun (Jean-Michel Ramoune) started his musical path at a very young age with Maloya, the traditional music of the Indian Ocean island Réunion, where he was born and raised. Reminiscent of the origins of blues, Maloya is soul music rooted in pain and a history of slavery. Accompanied by unique string and percussion instruments, Tiloun’s gentle and powerful voice mixes with the unstructured harmony typical of Maloya to create an exceptional energetic musical experience. Music of longing, joie de vivre, and freedom.

Ramoune Jean Michel – Tiloun (kayamb), Fortouna Ludovic (rouler), Madia Jean Frédéric (tyimbé, gongas, gora), Vavelin Mathias (sati and piker)

**With the kind support of the Institut Français

Thursday, December 5 at 21:00; Friday, December 6 at 15:00


Liquid Saloon (Israel)

The debut album of the instrumental trio Liquid Saloon consists of improvised sessions recorded in the living room. In the live version they blend African rhythms, spacey Beats and psychedelic jazz and offer new takes on their album.

Amir Bresler (drums), Sefi Zisling (trumpet), Noam Havkin (keyboard), Roi Avivi (guitar), Elyasaf Bashari (bass)

Friday, December 6 at 13:30


Soweto Kinch Trio (UK)

One of the fresh and versatile voices in the British jazz and hip hop scene, Kinch has gained wide acclaim for his music, which walks the line between jazz and spoken word. He conjures an abstract world of numbers and shapes grounded in a tight drum and bass rhythm section, from which the saxophone and lyrics soar high with jazz and hip-hop groove.

Soweto Kinch (alto sax, vocals, keys/programming), Nick Jurd (double bass), David Hodek (drums)

Wednesday, December 4 at 21:00; Thursday, December 5 at 22:30


Shye Ben-Tzur | Duet (Israel)

Shye Ben-Tzur’s musical journey unfolds between India and Israel, Western culture and Sufism, combining traditional qawwali singing, Jewish piyyut, and Sufi music to form a new language, with which he expresses his internal and external musical worlds. In a duo show created for the Jerusalem Jazz Festival, Ben-Tzur and percussionist Ben Aylon take us on a journey into new and captivating realms of sound and emotion.

Shye Ben-Tzur (loopers, bansuri flute, vocals, and beats) Ben Aylon (percussion)

Friday, December 6 at 14:00

Li Xiaochuan Quintet (China)

Trumpeter Li Xiaochuan is at the forefront of contemporary Chinese jazz scene. He creates original new unusual expressive jazz fusion, combining quick trumpet riffs – an unbeatable combination of superb technique with exceptional improvisation skills. This is Li Xiaochuan Quintet debut performance in Israel, as well as the first time – but certainly not the last – that a Chinese jazz is featured in an Israeli festival.

Li Xiaochuan (trumpet), Rong Chenchu (vibraphone), Huang Yong (bass), Zhang Xiongguan (guitar), Xu Zhitong (drums(

**With the kind support of the China Cultural Center in Tel Aviv

Wednesday, December 4 at 20:30; Friday, December 6 at 13:00


Bohuslän Big Band /Photo: Lars Kroon

Bohuslän Big Band & Avishai Cohen (Sweden)

Bohuslän Big Band started in the 19th century as a military orchestra. Its 18 members create traditional and tight Big Band sound, as they continue to challenge the genre with fresh original compositions, pushing the boundaries with unconventional arrangements. For the first time in Israel, Bohuslän Big Band will feature trumpeter and composer Avishai Cohen, performing a full show of his original music. Originally written and performed by a jazz trio or quartet, Cohen’s melodies will be arranged and performed by a big band for the first time ever.

Musical adaptations: Mike Holober, Niclas Rydh, Yonatan Albalak

Thursday, December 5 at 20:30


SHALOSH (Israel)

Shalosh is an international jazz ensemble with Jerusalem roots. Its unique style combines rock, classical, electronic, and world music – and shaped both by the musical education and the diverse sources of inspiration of each member of the ensemble.  After a tour in festivals all over the world, they come to the JJF where they will perform music from their four albums.

Gadi Stern (piano),David Michaeli (double bass), Matan Assayag (drums)

Thursday, December 5 at 19:00


Shalosh – Ultra Wide  (Israel)

On a special night created for the festival, the trio present a musical interpretation to artist Lisa Reihana’s In Pursuit of Venus [Infected]. The point of departure of Lisa Reihana’s acclaimed video projection, In Pursuit of Venus [Infected], is the famed voyages of Captain James Cook, who 250 years ago was the first European to reach distant areas of the southern hemisphere and have contact with the people who lived there. Its title suggests a quest, while referring to Cook’s orders from the Admiralty: to record the transit of Venus across the sun and also to expand England’s knowledge of the world and sphere of influence. (The word infected suggests another outcome of his mission – the introduction of European diseases to the region). Reihana breathes a new life and meaning into this dramatic encounter.  In the show, the trio plays with Reihana’s captivating video and offer a musical commentary on questions of social inequity, relationships between peoples, and native autonomy.

Gadi Stern (piano),David Michaeli (double bass), Matan Assayag (drums) Dorit Shafir (curator), Ronit Chernica (designer)

Wednesday, December 4 at 21:45

KADAWA (Israel)

The trio members started their musical path together in 2013 at the New School in Tel Aviv, and are currently living and working in the US. They bring to the stage existential themes such as global warming, the cost of living, and the failing American health care system, alongside curious, not to mention peculiar, subject matters like complex flat moves, dreadful winter storms, and movies they love to hate. Their tunes are flexible and varied, serving a message or a story with a poignant and clear character.

Tal Yahalom (guitar), Almog Sharvit (bass), Ben Silashi (drums(

Thursday, December 5 at 19:30

Yuval Cohen’s  sextet – Chamber Jazz (Israel)

In his chamber project, Yuval Cohen, One of the leading Israeli jazz musicians, offers a new synthesis – merging romantic music, traditional jazz and Israeli music, and expressing it with a powerful suite for chamber jazz sextet, and expressive materials for a chamber jazz quartet. The outcome is contemporary music composed out of fragments of styles, melodies, and people.

Yuval Cohen (composer, soprano saxophone), Maya Belsitzman (cello), Jonathan Voltzok (trombone), Katya Tubul (piano), Guy Levy (bass), Yonatan Rosen (drums(

Wednesday, December 4 at 22:00

Uru featuring Ori Kaplan (Israel)

The trio of Israeli avant-garde jazz scene pioneer Daniel Sarid combines jazz, contemporary music, world and avant-garde music into a unique blend. Their music reflects the unique bond formed between the trio members over the last few years. In the show created for the festival they improvise together and explore the boundaries of creation with producer, composer, and saxophonist, Balkan Beat Box’ Ori Kaplan.

Daniel Sarid (piano), Nadav Meisel (bass), Ofer Bymel (drums), Ori Kaplan (saxophone(

Thursday, December 5 at 20:00

The Very Eye of Night     (Israel)

The Great Gehenna Choir performs a live soundtrack to Maya Deren’s movies

Comprising classical singers, composers, singer songwriters, and multidisciplinary artists, The Great Gehenna Choir creates religious, political, surreal events devised as contemporary transformative rituals and open gatherings.  Led by Amit Fishbein and Noam Ahdut, The Great Gehenna Choir will perform original soundtracks to the films of Maya Deren, one of the trailblazers in women’s cinema and the first lady of American experimental filmmaking.  Part of the Yellow Submarine’s new project “She Loves The Cinema!”. A project that brings together groundbreaking women musicians and film directors who serve as a model for women’s creators in a patriarchal climate.

The Great Gehenna Choir is a collaborative project with Mamuta Art and Research Center

Thursday, December 5 at 22:00

Addis Ken

Abate Berihun featuring  Rudi Bainesay

Addis Ken (“New Day”) is the new project of saxophonist and singer Abate Berihun, one of the greatest musicians in Israel. Together they bring to the stage original music that fuses Jewish-Ethiopian soul music passed through the generations with ageless spiritual and mysterious texts. The result is a thrilling encounter between ancient Ethiopian traditions and the legacy of modern jazz ensemble, steeped in musical experimentality, deep grove, and the spirit of blues.  In the show, the ensemble will feature the soulful singer songwriter Rudi Bainesay.

Abate Berihun (vocals and saxophone), Roy Mor (piano), David Michaeli (bass), Nitzan Birnbaum (drums), Rudi Bainesay (vocals)

Wednesday, December 4 at 20:30

Çağrı Sertel Trio (Turkey)

Turkish pianist Çağrı Sertel started his musical path at an early age as a classical pianist, and was immediately drawn to composing original jazz. His works interweave jazz, RnB, and rock, laced with unique flavors that seeped into his piano music from the Turkish space. Sertal’s versatility led him to extensive and diverse collaborations with musicians like Aydın Esen, Ricky Ford, Donovan Mixon, Cengiz Baysal, and Selen Gülün. He comes to the JJF with a piano trio.

Çağrı Sertel (piano & electronics), Volkan Hürsever,(double bass) Turgut Alp Bekoğlu (drums(

Wednesday, December 4 at 19:30; Friday, December 6 at 14:30


Écoute – Program for Children

Écoute, founded by Inbal Djamshid and Gilad Vaknin in 2011, focuses on new classical Middle Eastern music and songs of poets. Écoute’s members include: Tal Avraham – trumpet; Eden Djamshid – cello; Johanna Ritmuller – violin; Evyatar Hermesh – contrabass; Aviv Ezra – percussion; and Amir Boltzman – keyboards and effects. The show is appropriate for children and all ages.

Friday, December 6 at 12:30 and 15:30


The full schedule, information and tickets are available on the Jerusalem Jazz Festival website. For further information call 02-5631544   Hours: Sun – Thurs between 10:00 – 16:00.

The Jerusalem Jazz Festival is the international flagship project of the Israel Festival, in cooperation with the Yellow Submarine and the Israel Museum, with the support of the Jerusalem Foundation. The festival will take place at the Israel Museum, Derech Ruppin, located across the Knesset in the government precinct of Jerusalem.

*texts and information provided by the Jerusalem Jazz Festival


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