Jerusalem Jazz Festival 2023

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The 9th edition of the Jerusalem Jazz Festival will take place from July 27 – 29, 2023 at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Presented by the Israel Festival, under the artistic direction of Avishai Cohen the festival features exciting jazz musicians – both international and Israeli, with collaborations unique to the festival. Taking place in the galleries and garden of the Israel Museum, the interplay of music, art, and the Jerusalem night creates an unforgettable experience.

Boubacar Traoré/Photo: Carly Viator

Opening night will take place on the outdoor Crown Stage, with performances from Mali, Sahara, New York, and Israel. The second and third nights will resume the traditional program with performances taking place on six different stages throughout the museum, in the galleries and in the Sculpture Garden. Among the international musicians participating in the festival are trumpeter and composer Dave Douglas – USA, Pomelo Town – Thailand, Michael Mayo – USA, Oliphantre Trio – Italy, Eva Quartet – Bulgaria, Rafael Riqueni – Spain, Momi Maiga – Spain/Senegal, Julia Hülsmann Quartet – Germany, Tarwa N-Trini – Morocco, and Boubacar Traoré – Mali. Israeli musicians participating in the festival include: Alon Farber’s Hagiga Ensemble, pianist Shai Maestro, Monolyt, Shay Hazan featuring Gili Yalo and Lucille Crew, and Avishai Cohen’s Big Vicious hosting Ester Rada.

Avishai Cohen’s The Big Vicious/Photo: Ben Palhov

This year’s festival will feature The Beatniks are Coming – a tribute to the poets of the Beat Generation with two original productions that connect Beat poetry to new, original musical interpretations.  The beat goes ON will take place on Wednesday night, with master guitarist Uzi Feinerman (guitar, loops & music management) leading a terrific cohort of musicians – Shaul Eshet (keyboards), Yonatan Levi (bass), Itamar Weinstein (drums) – who come together as the Tiruf Ensemble to respond to the texts of Allan Ginsburg, William Burroughs, and Jack Kerouac. The evening will be Emceed by Noam Shuster-Eliasi and will host poet Gilad Meiri and the fabulous queen of groove – Karolina. On the Beat will take place on Thursday, with a focus on swing, poetry and freedom of speech. In this jazz performance, a swing ensemble – Ofri Nehemya (drums and music management), Hagai Amir (alto saxophone), Jonathan Volchok (trombone), Yonatan Riklis (piano) – will take the evening through translations of beat poetry with an emphasis on the work of Allan Ginsburg, as well as contemporary poems, all reflecting the ongoing dialogue between Hebrew poetry and Beat poetry, from its beginnings in the 1940s, to this day. Actor Menashe Noy will lead the evening which will host poets Dorit Weisman and Eran Hadas.

Some of my favorite festival traditions:

Floating Voices – these are pop-up, improvised performances that take place in the galleries or garden, often bringing together musicians who are not performing together in one of the scheduled shows but come together for a magical moment. Usually, a schedule is available with information on the Floating Voices for that day, but it’s also a lot of fun to forget about schedules and just wander through the museum, encountering music unexpectedly.

Students at the festival – students from the Jerusalem Music and Dance Academy and the Israeli Conservatory of Music (New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, New York City) perform at the festival. As you walk up the path to the museum, they will be the first to get you into the groove, on the Cardo Stage and Carter Slope.

Mid-Festival Jam at the Yellow Submarine – Wednesday night after the scheduled performances at the Israel Museum, there will be shuttle buses available to take you to Jerusalem’s beloved home for music – the Yellow Submarine, where musicians performing at the festival will come together onstage for a jam that goes on into the night. Conducted by saxophonist Elad Gellert (Tzaneret, Hoodna Orchestra), the fun begins at 23:30 with a set from the Milton Michaeli Trio (Milton Michaeli – piano, Asaf Shchori – bass, Noam David – drums).

Closing the festival on Thursday night will be a party at FeelBeit, an Israeli-Palestinian cultural house located on the border between East and West Jerusalem.

The Jerusalem Jazz Festival is a music lovers’ paradise with an artistic program that reflects the diversity of contemporary jazz with connections to world music, Dixieland, pop, hip hop, rock, groove, Avant-garde, electronic music and more. Come to hear your favorite musicians and discover new favorites.

The Jerusalem Jazz Festival will take place on the nights of Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, June 27 – 29, 2023. The gates of the Israel Museum will open at 18:30 each evening. There are no reserved seats for concerts. Ticket information: a daily ticket is 245 NIS, with discounts for museum members and seniors – 210 NIS; students and soldiers – 184 NIS. Combo tickets are 450 NIS for 2 nights, 600 NIS for all 3 nights.

The complete lineup, schedule and ticket information may be found on the Jerusalem Jazz Festival website.