Arts & Culture

5 Jazzy Jewesses You Should Be Listening To

Some years fly by on the winds of routine, others swirl in wild storms that change your life, views, and perceptions. Then there are years in one’s life in which the fruits of long labor begin to blossom, ripen and … Read More

By / January 27, 2010

Some years fly by on the winds of routine, others swirl in wild storms that change your life, views, and perceptions. Then there are years in one’s life in which the fruits of long labor begin to blossom, ripen and become ready to be picked and eaten by the world. This year, for me, is of the third kind.

Shortly before Rosh Hashanah, my album Upto Here | From Here was released and distributed through Obliqsound. I recorded the album in 2006 with my NY based sextet, following several years of performing this music together. We celebrated this long-awaited release with a series of concerts in the U.S. and Israel, my two homes. Now, a few months later, another project I have been working on for several years is coming out on Tzadik Records! Mycale is an all-female a capella quartet that was commissioned by John Zorn to arrange, perform and record eleven compositions from his "Book of Angels." Basya Schechter of Pharaoh’s Daughter started this wonderful venture, and brought me in to play, then Sofia Koutsovitis and Malika Zarra joined the fun. We’ve worked and played hard to bring you this album, filled with vocal "sound sculptures" built on, in, and around Zorn’s compositions. Now, after a long warm up, these two CDs are finally out in stores near you and online… check out my website to get specific information regarding live shows, news and updates.

To share the love, I’d like to recommend to you five CDs by Jewish Jazz ladies who I admire, and think you would greatly enjoy: Anat Fort – A Long Story Anat and I have been collaborating on various projects since 2004 ("Mayim Rabim," "Upto Here | From Here" and more). Hearing her play the piano is like sailing on a spiritual and emotional sea journey. "A Long Story" is Anat’s ECM debut, featuring jazz giant, drummer Paul Motian, as well as bassist Ed Schuller (who has also performed and recorded with me on "Upto…" ) and clarinetist Perry Robinson – what an inspired ensemble… Keep your eyes and ears open for Anat’s next release, coming soon on ECM – a debut recording of her piano trio with whom she has been performing for over a decade! Julia Feldman – Words are Worlds Julia is a remarkable jazz vocalist, based in Jerusalem, Israel. Though her albums are hard to find in stores in the U.S., they are available online and highly recommended! "Words are Worlds", her 2004 debut, is a tribute to the great Billy Holliday, with surprising arrangements to well known songs like "Strange Fruit", "God Bless The Child" and more… Her band features some of Israel’s most adventurous musicians – Yitzhak Yedid on piano and Ora Boasson-Horev on Bass.

Keep your eyes and ears open for Julia’s upcoming release "The Secret Door" which she recorded in NY last year! On it, she and I perform a duet of Leonard Cohen’s beautiful "Suzanne."

Amanda Monaco – I Think I’ll Keep You Amanda is a wonderfully diverse jazz guitarist. She has released many albums as a band leader, collaborator and side-woman… This particular album, released on LateSet Records, is my favorite of her creations to date. It is a CD of her original compositions, performed by some of NY’s best improvisers – Michael Attias (saxophones), Sean Conly (bass) and Satoshi Takeishi (drums).

Keep your eyes and ears open for the upcoming release of her "Pirkei Avot" project! The band features Amanda (Guitar), Sean (bass), Satoshi (percussion), "Pharoah’s Daughter"’s Daphna Mor (recorders) and myself (voice)! It is a very beautiful set of Jewish-jazz music composed by Amanda to passages of wisdom from "Pirkei Avot."

Judi Silvano – Riding A Zephyr A very creative and wide-ranged jazz vocalist, Judi has collaborated with some of the greatest musicians alive today, including Joe Lovano, George Garzone, Kenny Werner and many others… On this particular record, released on Soul Note / Black Saint, she collaborates with one of my favorite jazz pianists and composers – the great Mal Waldron. This is Mal’s last recording – shortly after the release he passed away, and left the world with many gorgeous recordings and timeless compositions. This is possibly Judi’s most intimate album. The communication between them is profound, introspective and lush. The album is comprised of music by both Waldron and Silvano, including some compositions by Mal to which Judi wrote new lyrics.

If you’re into women and jazz, you will also enjoy Judi’s "Women’s Works" with an all female jazz quartet, performing tunes by female composers! Ora Boasson-Horev – Tezeta Ora, a bassist living in Jerusalem, is one of the most original players I’ve heard. She frequently collaborates with guitarist Udi Horev, pianist Yizhak Yedid, flutist Dvir Katz, all musicians who you should definitely check out!

This quartet – Tezeta – is a multi-cultural collaboration, Israeli style… Ora – a "sabra", born and raised in Israel, Oleg Bogod (piano) – an immigrant from Russia, Abate Brihun (sax & voice) and Mulukan Patago Ya’akov (voice) – immigrants from Ethiopia. Together they found a very special mix of Jazz, Jewish and world music. Their recording is available to be heard on, though not yet formally released.

If after all this listening, your ears are still up for some more – you should check out Yitzhak Yedid’s "Oud Bass Piano Trio" featuring Ora on Bass and Mikhail Maroun on Oud – a trio of three virtuoso musicians, connecting in an uncommon setting. I hope you’ll enjoy listening and exploring the sounds of these incredible ladies!