Tag Archives: Rona Kenan

Emotional Value

13 Mar

Lately I’ve been too busy playing and couldn’t blog. That’s a good thing.

I want to thank everyone who have been checking out Four Tips for Improvisers. I’m quite astonished by the amount of readers. I’ll be writing more on this topic, so feel free to send specific questions if you have any.

Shai Maestro, a friend and a great pianist, wrote a beautiful comment on “Four Tips”. It includes a wise piece of advice from Sam Yahel, another great pianist/keyboardist. Thanks for sharing, Shai!

“Sam offered to ALWAYS play in an emotional context. Never practice anything in a mechanical way. Practice as if you had to preform what you are practicing. It can be a very slow tempo, but it has to have an emotional value to it. That way, when you are on stage, and you feel something, your’e brain had already made the connection between the feeling and the action back at the practice room, then it just comes out naturally. It proved itself as one of the best advice Iv’e ever got.”

I recently had mixing sessions with the brilliant engineer Christian Heck, for my upcoming trio album with Haggai Cohen Milo and Ziv Ravitz.

Listening back to the trio, I found myself thinking about my musical and personal relationships.

What I hear in those tracks could only be achieved through quality-time spent together: traveling, talking, laughing, playing live, recording, going through life.

Someone recently asked me about my collaborators. I began naming names, and eventually said “I basically work with my friends”. That’s somehow true. I can’t recall the last time I was on stage, without at least one of the other musicians being a close friend.

Of course, I also play with new people all the time. I love that. You have to do it  if you want to keep fresh and learn new things. But it seems that the ones who become my friends and the ones who become my long-term collaborators are the same people.

I feel very blessed to have in my life people like Omer Avital, Rona Kenan, Alon Lotringer, Ziv and Haggai, and others. With each of these people I have been developing a long-term friendship and a strong artistic bond – we’re playing on each other’s projects, share the bandstand, consult each other.

In my musical life, I cannot think of a bigger asset I have.


Red Sea Next Week

15 Jan

Next week I will perform at the Red Sea Winter Jazz Festival in Eilat, Israel. It will be a solo piano concert, in which Rona Kenan  will be my special guest:

Red Sea Winter Jazz Festival, Eilat – Friday, January 20, 21:00.

Rona is one of my favorite singer-songwriters in recent years. Her texts are strong, poetic and uncompromising; her compositions have surprising and interesting twists; and her vocal performances are always honest and convincing, and very varied in tone and energy.

Right after my concert with Rona, The Bad Plus will perform on the same stage. I’ve been following this great band since they started out and their music is extremely original and beautiful. In Eilat they will perform On Sacred Ground – their version of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. Several years ago I took one lesson with Ethan Iverson, the band’s pianist, in New York; It will suffice to say that I still sometime practice the simple and profound things he showed me. I’m definitely looking forward to hearing this performance.

I will stick around at the festival to hear my friends Third World Love on Saturday. They are an incredible group and their show is highly recommended. And Thank you Omer Avital and Avishai Cohen (TWL’s bassist and trumpeter) for this nice mention at an interview for Ha’aretz this week:

“Among the newest generation of jazz players, Cohen and Avital praise guitarist Gilad Hekselman and pianist Omer Klein as outstanding young musicians now working abroad who are leaders in their fields.

‘In April, my new album with Omer Klein will be released’,says Avital, showing that “three generations” of Israel jazz musicians abroad are continuing to mingle and influence each other.”

The full story is here.

The album Avital is mentioning is a release of a recording we did a long time ago – in 2006 I think – playing his music with Avishai Cohen on trumpet, Joel Frahm on saxophone and Daniel Freedman on drums. We were playing a lot together at the time and I can’t wait to hear this music mixed, mastered and out there.