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All albums comments are the original liner notes by producer Adam Baruch
ZAVIOT ~ ZAVIOT
JAZZIS 1001
Recorded: 1987 Released: 1987

“Zaviot” means angles in Hebrew, a most appropriate name describing the character of the group consisting of four individuals from different parts of the world, united by their desire to create in the sphere of the jazz art form.

The group began as a trio in October 1985, consisting of Harold, Mark and Reuben. They performed in Tel Aviv, playing original compositions of Harold and Mark. In November 1986 Tommy joined the group, which began to include in its program his original compositions as well.

July 1987

Harold Rubin - Clarinet
Tommy Bellman - Guitar
Mark Smulian - Bass
Reuben Hoch - Drums

LP  

TEL-AVIV CONNECTION ~ TEL-AVIV CONNECTION
JAZZIS 1002
Recorded: 1987 Released: 1988

Christoph Spendel, who lives in Germany, had in the past expressed interest to me in coming to Israel to perform. When a tour was finally arranged, I thought that it would be very exciting to have Christoph perform as well as record an album with Israeli Musicians. I approached him with the prospect of this joint project, and he very happily agreed to take part in it.

The choice of the Israeli partners for Christoph was quite natural. Since I recently produced an album featuring the group “Zaviot”, I asked the members of the group to play with him, and they were enthusiastic about the project as well. Originally I had also intended for the group “Kedma” to play with Christoph, but things did not work out as planned. However, Jerry – who is a member of “Kedma” – did get to participate in the recording sessions and contributed his input.

The musical rapport between Christoph and his Israeli partners was quite overwhelming. It was evident from the first moment that they started to make music together, that a new and rare amalgam was created. The material included here is a result of this wonderful musical synergy. We therefore decided to call this session “The Tel Aviv Connection”, since it all happened in Tel Aviv. Enjoy!

February 1988

Harold Rubin - Clarinet
Tommy Bellman - Guitar
Christoph Spendel - Piano & Synthesizer
Mark Smulian - Bass & Bass Guitar
Jerry Garval - Percussion
Reuben Hoch - Drums

LP  

KEDMA ~ FACING EAST
JAZZIS 1003
Recorded: 1987 Released: 1988

The synthesis of Eastern and Western cultures has been attempted in the past by many jazz musicians all over the world. In most cases however, since the motivation behind those attempts lay either in the sphere of intellectual challenge, or fascination with the exotic, the results had little to offer as far as honest artistic achievements are concerned.

In Israel, where all the cultures of the world are put together into one big melting pot, mixing heritage and tradition from the four corners of the globe, one does not have to make a conscious effort to synthesize cultures. Israeli culture is a natural amalgamation par excellence. This applies to jazz music in Israel, as well as most of the other art forms.

“Kedma”, which in Hebrew means both the ancient past and distant feature, is an excellent example of a true fusion of musical expressions from the East and the West. The group, formed by Jean-Claude Jones in 1986, began as a duo, consisting of Jean Claude and Steve. Jerry joined the group in 1987. Together, they create some of the most fascinating jazz music originating in Israel. Please lend it your ears!

April 1988

Jean-Claude Jones - Guitar & Bass Guitar
Steve Paskoff - Guitar
Jerry Garval - Drums, Percussion & Trombone

LP  

LIZ MAGNES ~ SOLO ARGOV
JAZZIS 1004
Recorded: 1987 Released: 1988

Alexander “Sasha” Argov is a living legend. Generation after generation of Israelis grew up listening to countless interpretations of his songs, and his ever-expanding songbook is undoubtedly one of the greatest achievements of Israeli culture. His haunting melodies, full of lyricism and sophistication become instant evergreens, and of course have all the necessary virtues to become great jazz “standards”.

Liz Magnes is just one of many Argov’s admirers, and she expresses her love and affection for his compositions by creating a whole new world of music based upon his foundations. She should be admired both for her creativity, which is obvious to anyone listening to the material included here, and for her courage to tackle this difficult material, without being banal or trivial.

April 1988

Liz Magnes - Piano

LP  

ZAVIOT WITH DAVE LIEBMAN ~ UNEXPECTED
JAZZIS 1005
Recorded: 1988 Released: 1988

Jazz is the Art of the unexpected. This is true when the music is being played, as well as during the process of producing a jazz recording. This record is a result of many unexpected factors, the most wonderful of which is the participation of the great American saxophone player, Dave Liebman.

Dave arrived in Israel to give a series of master classes at the Rubin Academy in Jerusalem, prior to his appearance at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat. During his stay in Jerusalem, Jazzis Records celebrated its first anniversary by holding a concert presenting its recording artists. Dave came to listen to the music and I approached him with the idea of recording some music with "Zaviot". He agreed immediately and the recording session was scheduled for the next day. Fortunately a studio and a sound engineer were available on such short notice. Dave and the members of "Zaviot" played as if they knew each other for many years. Unfortunately, we had time to record only two tunes.

"Zaviot" has come a long way since recording their first album, released on Jazzis Records one year ago. Numerous performances in Israel and abroad have strengthened the unity and cohesiveness of the group. This recording demonstrates that "Zaviot" are a key element in the mosaic of sounds that symbolizes jazz music in Israel.

October 1988

Harold Rubin - Clarinet
Tommy Bellman - Guitar & Guitar Synthesizer
Mark Smulian - Bass & Bass Guitar
Reuben Hoch - Drums
with
Dave Liebman - Soprano Saxophone

CD  

HAROLD RUBIN ~ CLARINETVOYANCE
JAZZIS 1006
Recorded: 1987 - 1989 Released: 1990

Harold Rubin is undoubtedly one of the most interesting jazz musicians active on the Israeli jazz scene in the late 80's. He became known to the public as a member of the "Zaviot" group, but his true nature as an improviser is reflected much more clearly on this record, his first as a leader.

Since 1987, I have used every opportunity to make a recording with Harold, whenever studio time, money and musicians were available. We have tried to record musicians, who came to Israel in order to perform, and this record includes music captured on three such occasions.

The piece with Christoph Spendel was recorded during the sessions, which produced the "Tel-Aviv Connection" record. The trios were recorded during a tour in Israel by the "String Trio Of New York", of which Charles Burnham is a member. The two short pieces and the extended improvisation are part of the "Soviet Sessions", recorded when the Leonid Chizhik Trio came to perform at the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat. The rest of the pieces are duos with Israeli musicians, which Harold likes to play with.

I love this music and hope you can love it too!

January 1990

Harold Rubin - Clarinet
with
Charles Burhham - Violin
Leonid Chizhik - Piano
Christoph Spendel - Piano
Rami Harel - Synthesizer
Tommy Bellman - Guitar & Guitar Synthesizer
Victor Dvoskin - Bass
Mark Smulian - Bass & Bass Guitar

CD  

LIZ MAGNES ~ PIYUTIM
JAZZIS 1007
Recorded: 1987 Released: 1989

I have been faced with the question "What is Jazz?" time and time again, when trying to explain to people about the marvels and joys of this fabulous musical form and to persuade newcomers to open their hearts and minds and share with me the pleasures of Jazz.

One of my most assertive arguments is the fact, that jazz of today is not (contrary to popular misconception) a limited and self-indulgent musical form, but rather an extremely prolific and complex mosaic of styles and techniques, encompassing almost all areas of the musical Art Form.

One can hardly ask for a better substantiation of the a.m. argument, then the music presented here. It seems unimaginable at first to attempt building a bridge between two musical forms so isolated from each other, as medieval Jewish liturgical music and jazz. These recordings show, that human creativity and musical talent will always go beyond the unimaginable.

I'm proud to be able to share with other listeners yet another Liz Magnes musical achievement. Please listen to this material very carefully, and I'm convinced that the beauty and the elegance of this music will delight and gratify you as much as it does to me.

November 1988

Liz Magnes - Piano & Synthesizer

CD  

OFER ISRAELI ~ CLASH
JAZZIS 1008
Recorded: 1989 Released: 1989

Guitar is undoubtedly the most popular instrument played today, jazz being no exception. Experienced jazz fans approach new recordings by jazz guitarist with reluctance, wondering if this is yet another showcase of neck-breaking swiftness and technical brilliance, lacking other qualities we all expect to hear in order to enjoy a good jazz record, namely intelligence, feeling and creativity.

Ofer Israeli knows his instrument well, after studying and playing it for years both here and abroad. However, when he decided to make this recording, the emphasis was not to be on his ability as a player alone, but as an integral jazz musician and composer. He picked up his colleagues carefully, considering their abilities to cooperate and contribute to his music. I believe he succeeded in his task.

Ofer, Arnon and Eli are typical representatives of the third generation of Israeli jazz musicians. They were born in this country and got exposed to jazz music by listening to their older colleagues as well as to recordings and concerts by visiting jazz musicians. They started their musical education here and continued it abroad, in order to expose themselves to all available influences and inspirations. They all play jazz when possible, but in order to make a living they have to engage in other activities.

Jess on the other hand represents those jazz musicians, who matured in other parts of the world and then decided to immigrate to Israel, soon to be absorbed into the local jazz scene. He was born in France, but spent many years in Tahiti, picking local influences and flavors everywhere and now integrating them all into his unique style.

I hope that in producing this record I succeeded to introduce yet another element of the Israeli jazz scene, and document one more stage in its development. By listening to this music and enjoying it you can share with me the pleasure I had by taking part in its creation.

September 1989

Ofer Israeli - Guitar
Jess Gersztenkorn - Saxophone & Flute
Arnon Palti - Bass Guitar & Piano
Eli Ben-Shoshan - Drums
with
Ilan Salem - Flute
Rony Frenkel - Percussion

CD  

ZADLO-RUBIN-PARPAR ~ SPRINGTIME IN WINTER
JAZZIS 1009
Recorded: 1990 Released: 1990

This is a very special record for me, reaching far beyond the concept of capturing, for eternity, the magic moments of musical creation. It's an epitome of the many bonds of friendship between people involved in the jazz scene worldwide, as well as a document of the creative processes involved in group improvisation.

Leszek Zadlo, who left Poland - his troubled homeland - in the 70's, to live and create music in Germany, is today one of the most important jazz musicians in Europe, and for me the best European saxophonist. His technique is brilliant and his improvisational skills unrivaled. This, combined with his charming personality, makes him a wonderful person and a dear friend since many years. Our common Polish background is just one of the many layers of this friendship.

Harold is of course another dear friend, with whom I had the privilege to experience some of the most exceptional moments in Israeli jazz, since the early days of his first group "Zaviot". His enormous vitality and esprit de corps (almost hyperactivity) are best illustrated by the fact, that at the time of this recording Harold was a leader of two separate groups, both called "Parpar" (Hebrew for butterfly). Therefore it was only natural to include both groups in this session.

Leszek and Harold met several times in Germany, when "Zaviot" toured Europe. They developed an instant liking for each other as well as a phenomenal musical rapport. I'm happy to be the catalyst behind their friendship and of course this magnificent music.

When the Goethe-Institut in Tel-Aviv decided to help us and bring Leszek for a tour in Israel, I immediately booked studio time to make this recording, since I knew about Leszek's and Harold's urge to play and record together. Their concerts in Israel as well as this recording are the best proof of the fact that human talent and creativity have no limits and know no borders.

We dedicate this record to all the People of Eastern Europe, for whom the Winter of 1989/1990 was really the most wonderful Spring they had in many years.

November 1990

Leszek Zadlo - Saxophones
Harold Rubin - Clarinet
with
Parpar I:
Rami Harel - Keyboards
Kobi Shefi - Guitar
Igal Foni - Drums
Parpar II:
Daniel Sarid - Piano
Yuval Mesner - Cello
Igal Foni - Drums

CD  

EYRAN KATSENELENBOGEN ~ JAZZONETTES
JAZZIS 1010
Recorded: 1989 Released: 1990

Being the owner / producer of an independent jazz record label is not an easy task, but it has its benefits. One of those benefits is the feeling of excitement and anticipation I experience, when a cassette arrives on my desk, containing music recorded by a jazz group or a soloist, music that I have not heard before (I receive many such cassettes from musicians, who wish to record for Jazzis Records). Sometimes the music is nice, but not good or ripened enough to be released, often it's mediocre and disappointing, but every once in a while it just hits me right between my ears and I know this is something I have to put on a record to share with other jazz lovers. Eyran's music is one of such cases.

Eyran, born 1965 in Tel-Aviv, is hardly a beginner in his art. He started taking piano lessons at the age of 6 with some of the most respected and prestigious teachers in Israel. The pure classical studies continued till 1984, when he started taking lessons with Menachem Wiesenberg, a gifted classical and jazz pianist, who introduced Eyran to the intricacies of playing jazz music. The resulting combination of classical background, vast theoretical knowledge of the instrument, a rare improvisational ability and a deep feeling for the music is documented here by this recording.

In addition to his solo career, Eyran plays keyboards in a jazz group called "Drachim" (Ways), which is considered to be one of the most promising bands in Israel. Considering the fact, that Eyran was just 25 at the time this music was recorded, I believe we'll hear a lot more about him in the future. I'm proud to be able to help him with the first step on his way to success.

March 1990

Eyran Kacenelenbogen - Piano

CD  

BIOLOGICAL MADNESS ~ BIOLOGICAL MADNESS
JAZZIS 1011
Recorded: 1990 Released: 1990

Jazz-Rock Fusion was conjured up in the late sixties, before three of the members of "Biological Madness" were even born. However, this recording proves that today, two decades later, this musical style can still be as vigorous, creative and exciting as it was in its early days.

Larry Smith is the link between this group and the "heritage" of Jazz-Rock. Born in Canada, Larry was a member of one of the most famous groups which played Fusion music in the seventies, called "Lighthouse". Since his arrival in Israel, Larry continued his activities on the local scene and about a year ago joined with three young Israeli born players to form "Biological Madness".

The music presented here is so full of energy and joy, that it's impossible to stay indifferent to it. I hope you can have as much fun listening to it as the musicians had during its creation. Once you've listened to it "for fun", try once again, this time paying attention to the brilliant performance by the 17 year old bass player, who promises to grow up us one of our major instrumentalists, the beautiful "togetherness" displayed in the guitar / bass duets, the crisp dynamic basis created by the drummer or the intricate compositions by the guitarist. Enjoy!

April 1990

Larry Smith - Trumpet & Piano
Ofer Ben-Zion - Guitar
Sassy Mizrachy - Bass Guitar
Asaf Sirkis - Drums

CD  

ROBERTO MAGRIS ISRASEXTET ~ LIFE IN ISRAEL
JAZZIS 1012
Recorded: 1990 Released: 1990

Producing jazz records is a risky business, especially if the musicians involved have never played together and the resulting sound of the group exists only in the producer's head. I tool this risk gladly, and the results prove to be worth every effort invested in this recording.

Roberto and his Quartet arrived from Italy to make this recording and play a few concerts together with two Israeli partners - Larry and Ofer. They had never met before and had just a couple of days to rehearse the material before going on stage and then into the studio. Despite all the fears, everything worked like magic. The musicians liked each other immediately and the music just developed and took off as if by itself. A week later we had this music recorded and many new bonds of friendship and mutual respect between the people from both countries.

I hope you can appreciate both the performance and the outstanding compositions presented here. They deserve to become standards, to be played and enjoyed by many jazz lovers around the world. In the meantime I had the satisfaction and the pleasure to create one more musical bridge between artists.

June 1990

Larry Smith - Trumpet
Marco Castelli - Saxophones
Ofer Israeli - Guitar
Roberto Magris - Piano
Luigi Rossi - Bass
Davide Ragazzoni - Drums

CD  

MODUS ~ MODUS
JAZZIS 1013
Recorded: 1990 Released: 1990

It's always a delightful surprise to see very young musicians, who love to play jazz music, especially when they do it as well as the members of Modus. When their home-recorded cassette arrived on my desk, my decision to make a record with them was instantaneous.

The core of the group - Sasi and Dov - both live in the south of Israel, in the Negev desert. Sasi comes from a small settlement and Dov is a kibbutz member. Their music was born and matured far from the big city turmoil, and this is perhaps the reason why it's so serene and non-aggressive.

I'm especially impressed by the quality of the original compositions presented on this record. I love beautiful and intricate melodies, and this record is full of them. Regardless of the label one wishes to put on this music, be it "jazz-rock", "fusion" or "contemporary jazz", one thing is sure - this is jazz at its best - creative, swinging and stimulating. I'm sure that the listener will find new qualities and thrills every time he hears this music.

November 1990

Dov Gerber - Saxophones & Flute
Sasi Shalom - Keyboards
Rami Shuler - Vibraphone & Percussion
Nir Ori - Bass Guitar
Tamir Muskat - Drums
with
Harold Rubin - Clarinet
Eli Benacot - Saxophone
Rea Mochiach - Percussion
Shlomo Deshet - Drums

CD  

BORIS GAMMER ~ EIGHT TILL LATE
JAZZIS 1014
Recorded: 1991 Released: 1991

Israeli Art is a melting pot of traditions and influences originating in many different parts of the world and mixed together in the process of creating a new amalgam. Since many of the Israeli Artists are immigrants, who matured and acquired their artistic skills in other countries, the natural fusion of cultures is a necessity. Jazz is of course no exception, and today one can find among the Israeli jazz musicians immigrants from virtually every country in the world.

The biggest waves of immigration to Israel in the last two decades are of course those from the Soviet Union - the first one in the Seventies and the second one, which erupted in 1990, continues at present.

This recording presents a perfect example of the process of "absorption" in the field of jazz. It is also the first glance at the enormous contribution made by the Soviet immigrants to Israeli jazz. Just for the sake of historic perspective, it's important to know that the musicians playing here represent both "old" and "new" immigrants - Boris, Eddie and Mikha arrived in Israel in the Seventies, Art and Gideon in 1990. Avi and Yaakov are representatives of the new generation of jazz musicians born in this country.

Soon after his arrival in Israel, Boris Gammer was recognized as one of the most prominent jazz musicians in the country. Today he's renowned for his activities as player, arranger, composer, band-leader and teacher in the Jazz Department of the Music Academy in Jerusalem. His exceptional gift for improvisation is self-evident from this recording, but it's also important to know that Boris is a very versatile jazzman. His fluency in all the styles of jazz music, from Dixieland to Free, is well demonstrated by the fact that he leads two jazz ensembles in parallel, namely "Eight Till Late" (as presented on this record) as well as the "Jerusalem Jazz Band", which is the only professional Dixieland band active in Israel.

I'm quite sure that every jazz fan will be impressed by this record, especially in view of the fact that it combines brilliant compositions with remarkable musicianship by all the participants. My only hope is to be able to produce a Boris Gammer recording again soon.

February 1991

Boris Gammer - Saxophones, Clarinet & Vocals
Art Bloch - Piano
Avi Rothbard - Guitar
Yaakov Seagull - Bass Guitar
Eddie Rezonov - Bass
Mikha Markovitch - Drums
Gideon Peysakhov - Drums

CD  

ODÉON ~ ODÉON
JAZZIS 1015
Recorded: 1990 - 1991 Released: 1991

This recording portrays the talents of two very young and very gifted musician from Haifa, who combine their individual musical skills and inclinations in order to create a kaleidoscope of partly composed and partly improvised musical inventions. It is a very unusual and ambitious project, and although its proximity to the "traditional" jazz principles is not unequivocal, I'm convinced that many jazz lovers will be able to accept this music as a legitimate extension to the contemporary jazz idiom.

Sassy Mizrachy is well known to the Israeli music fraternity as one of the most talented bass players to emerge on the scene in the last few years. His playing is well documented on "Biological Madness" and currently he performs with the top Israeli rock stars. Amos Rosner is still relatively anonymous, but his dexterity will surely win him many followers in the future.

The most important aspect of this recording is of course the wide spectrum of compositions presented here, ranging from a solo bass improvisation to a piece for string quintet. For me the link between all those compositions is the attempt to balance between a wonderful (and sometimes wild) sense of humor - shared by both Amos and Sassy - and the sadness and pain caused by facing the reality of our existence.

May 1991

Amos Rosner - Keyboards
Sassy Mizrachy - Bass, Bass Guitar, Guitars & Vocals
with
Larry Smith - Flugelhorn
Ofer Ben-Zion - Guitar
Francisco Juarez - Percussion
Asaf Sirkis - Drums
Asher Fedy - Drums
&
String Quintet

CD  

TACT ~ DOWNTOWN
JAZZIS 1016
Recorded: 1991 Released: 1992

As a record producer I keep my ears open at all times to new bands emerging on the Israeli scene. There is so much talent among the young players, that making a decision which band to record can be quite challenging. In the case of Tact however, I had no difficulty in making the decision - they are simply to good to be ignored.

I had the pleasure to record Asaf Sirkis twice before - he was a member of the group "Biological Madness" and contributed enormously to the creation of "Odéon". In my opinion he is definitely the most talented drummer among the young "lions" and the driving force behind Tact. Shaul Ling plays savvy guitar licks and writes superb melodies. Hanan Stein plays tasteful bass and balances the total sound with his delicate touch. Rami Alster pours the big sax sounds on top of the structure assembled by his partners. All together they create a unique sound, which is simply extraordinary.

Just listen carefully and enjoy!

January 1992

Rami Alster - Saxophone
Shaul Ling - Guitar
Hanan Stein - Bass Guitar
Asaf Sirkis - Drums

CD  

TOVY MESHOULAM ~ ACOUSTICS
JAZZIS 1017
Recorded: 1991 Released: 1992

This ensemble of ten Israeli jazz musicians is unique in many ways. The usage of acoustic wind instruments without the support of any harmonic instrument produces an unorthodox sound. The skillful and ingenious arrangements emphasize the variety of sounds made by brass and reeds. The ensemble is also a meeting point between veteran musicians and promising young musicians.

The material selected for this recording presents a wide spectrum of jazz styles, emphasizing the skills of the musicians both as ensemble members and soloists. This mixture of jazz standards and original compositions serves well as a vehicle to demonstrate just how good this band is.

Tovy Meshoulam is the driving force behind this ensemble. This album is the culmination of his efforts to put this band together, write all the beautiful arrangements, get the musicians to rehearse and finally to record. Anyone who was ever involved in such process knows how difficult and sometimes frustrating all this can be. Tovy deserves all the credit for this sisyphean work. May this album bring him his well deserved recognition. He can be proud of it!

May 1992

Tovy Meshoulam - Trombone, Leader
Arik Davidov - Trumpet
Dan Mosku - Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Dror Ben-Gur - Alto Saxophone
Merton Cahm - Alto, Soprano & Tenor Saxophones
Arik Livnat - Tenor Saxophone
Mark Rozen - Tenor & Soprano Saxophones
Amos Keshet - Baritone Saxophone
Gil Katz - Bass Guitar
Yossie "Peppo" Levy - Drums
with
Rami Shuler - Vibraphone

CD  

SHLOMI GOLDENBERG ~ TO YOU
JAZZIS 1018
Recorded: 1990 - 1991 Released: 1992

Many young Israeli jazz musicians make the decision to go and study music abroad at some stage of their career. For most of them, the obvious choice is the Berklee College Of Music in Boston, USA. Usually, when the learning is over, the students pack their instruments and return to Israel to battle their way into the crowded Israeli jazz scene. In some cases however, they decide to stay and pursue their musical vocation on the lively Boston jazz scene, or move to the "Big Apple".

Shlomi Goldenberg is one of those young Israelis, for whom the initial period of jazz education developed into an active role as a composer, performer and band leader in the USA. In spite of his successes, Shlomi never forgot about his Homeland and his ties with Israel were always very strong. He repeatedly visits Israel, bringing with him "The Little Big Band" to perform all over the country, to the delight of the Israeli jazz lovers. It is therefore only appropriate that his debut CD should be released on an Israeli record label.

The material included on this CD is comprised of two recording sessions featuring the two groups led by Shlomi Goldenberg in the USA. The members of his quartet rank among the finest jazz players available, including the legendary bass player Gary Peacock. "The Little Big Band" is Shlomi's "vehicle", which enables him to present his skills as a composer and an arranger.

I'm proud to be able to present this exceptional music to jazz lovers in Israel and all over the world. Shlomi Goldenberg surely deserves to be heard and admired, especially as a composer of an outstanding subtlety.

January 1992

Shlomi Goldenberg - Saxophones
Thomas McKinley - Piano
Gary Peacock - Bass
Alex Deutsch - Drums
The Little Big Band:
Shlomi Goldenberg - Saxophones
J.D. Smith - Trombone
Sarah Cion - Piano
Dan O'Brien - Bass
Antonio Arcodia - Drums

CD  

IGAL FONI ~ FOR ELEVATORS?
JAZZIS 1019
Recorded: 1993 Released: 1995

It is a great pity that some of Israel's greatest jazz musicians often have to live in other countries in order to dedicate themselves totally to their life's ambition - playing jazz. Igal Foni is an excellent example of this phenomenon. He lives now in Paris, performing with some of the world's most prestigious jazz masters, but his roots are here.

I first heard Igal when he was a member of Harold Rubin's group "Parpar", and his talent and originality were immediately evident. Although he was still a very young player at that time, his conception of rhythm and the role of the drummer in a jazz ensemble were already unique and well defined. His further development, as documented on these recordings, proves that he can be considered as one of Israel's best jazz musicians, and perhaps the most advanced improviser in the field of contemporary jazz.

The music presented here features Igal Foni as a member of two ensembles, both led by American musicians, one with his old Israeli partners and the other with his current French colleagues, proving again that jazz knows no national borders.

The two leaders need no introductions to the jazz connoisseurs. They are both very dexterous and respected jazz artists. Michael Felberbaum spends most of his time in Europe, performing frequently at the European jazz venues with various lineups, with Paris being his new home-town. Michael Attias is perhaps most widely known as a member of Anthony Braxton's ensemble, but his divers activities leave no doubt as to his role in the vanguard of contemporary improvised music circles.

Igal Foni is very lucky to play along with his friends in both ensembles presented here. This music is demanding and full of passion, therefore a high level of mutual understanding, cooperation, respect and sympathy between the musician is required in order to reach this level of interplay. I can only hope that Igal continues to develop his talents in the years to come, and his abilities can be presented on record again soon.

April 1995

Michael Felberbaum Jumps:
Abshalom Ben Shlomo - Alto Saxophone
Harold Rubin - Clarinet
Michael Felberbaum - Guitar
Kobi Shefi - Bass Guitar
Igal Foni - Drums & Percussion
Michael Attias Phelomela F. Song:
Michael Attias - Alto Saxophone
Mathieu Tric - Flute & Soprano Saxophone
Francois Dupuis - Tenor Saxophone
Rajefh Mehta - Trumpet
Remy Chatton - Bass
Igal Foni - Drums, Percussion & Short Wave Radio

CD  

SASI SHALOM'S MODUS ~ THE WAY I SEE IT
JAZZIS 1020
Recorded: 1992 Released: 1993

Just a few days after Jazzis Records released the debut "Modus" album in 1990, Sasi Shalom left Israel to pursue his academic studies in Boston. All I had left were fond memories of a young and eager jazz musician and of course the record, which I decided to release mainly as a credit to Sasi's talent as a composer. We kept in touch and finally a decision was made to bring over to Israel the current version of "Modus", comprising of musicians who were Sasi's fellow students.

The recording sessions were a delight, mainly due to the amazing level of musicianship displayed by the participants, but the greatest surprise was how much progress Sasi managed to accomplish, both as a composer and a player, in such short time. There is no doubt in my mind that today he's the best Israeli jazz composer. His enchanting and mesmerizing compositions are truly outstanding.

This record is full of inspiring moments and electrifying solos, great ensemble playing and superb arrangements, all this in addition to being a perfect presentation of the Sasi Shalom's Songbook. I hope to share the pleasures of this record with many more jazz lovers worldwide.

May 1993

Sasi Shalom - Keyboards
Matt Renzi - Tenor Saxophone
Ittai Flascher - Guitar
Adam Dorn - Bass Guitar
Bertram Lehmann - Drums
with
Rami Shuler - Congas & Percussion
Safa'a Ammar - Vocals
Carolina Brandes - Vocals
Rick Peckham - Guitar
Yorai Oron - Bass Guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr. - Drums

CD  

HAROLD RUBIN ~ TRIALOG
JAZZIS 1021
Recorded: 1993 Released: 1993

My meeting with Harold Rubin and his music six years ago turned out to be one of the crucial points of my life. Harold, who was at that time a member of the group "Zaviot", impressed me immensely both as a person and a musician. His amazing way of playing the clarinet, the unusual voicing and the topsy-turvy twisting of the melody lines both inspired and shook me up - the result being my decision to start JAZZIS Records and record the first "Zaviot" album to be the first release on the new label. Today, six years and six records later, I'm still under his spell and every new production involving Harold feels as fresh and exciting as ever. I suppose that the reason for Harold's musical magic is the result of the continuous change and development of his art. In retrospect I can see clearly the direction his music has been taking, and it's no surprise that this record is much more "free" and improvised than the previous ones. I consider Harold to be the most "natural" jazz musician in Israel, and so is his music. Therefore it's only natural that he drifts towards the "oral culture" of his native South Africa, rather than towards the westernized melody lines, thus following the path well set by great jazz masters before him.

Harold's partners on this record belong to another generation, but they have a lot in common with their mentor. They are also "natural" musicians, mostly self-educated, and therefore free of the limitations imposed by repetitive playing of worn out jazz standards. Kobi has been playing with Harold for several years, and in time switched from guitar to bass guitar, providing both the pulse and an additional solo voice of the trio. He also contributes considerably to the trio's creative ambience. Asaf is a recent addition to the trio, but his assimilation in these new musical surroundings is truly remarkable. Asaf is featured on many Jazzis Records releases and his ability to play in different styles, always in top form, proves his great talent. I should emphasize that this trio is not in any sense a standard "leader/sidemen" setting. This unique combination of three individuals, whose collected talents and skills create a greater whole, prevails in an atmosphere of mutual respect and admiration, while its members keep inspiring each other continuously.

Harold Rubin is often criticized by fellow Israeli jazz musicians for being an amateur, a freak, a free spirit. This controversy is not new to jazz and all I can say is that narrow-mindedness and stupidity are unfortunately also a part of the jazz world. I hope that Harold's individuality and ingenuity prevails for many years to come, uplifting the spirits of those fortunate enough to comprehend and cherish it.

May 1993

Harold Rubin - Clarinet, Voice
Kobi Shefi - Guitar, Bass Guitar
Asaf Sirkis - Drums

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CHANGES ~ CHANGES
JAZZIS 1022
Recorded: 1992 - 1993 Released: 1993

Although Romania can be hardly considered as one of the world's jazz centers, the country is blessed with a number of exceptional jazz musicians, famous beyond the country's borders. Among Israeli immigrant jazz musicians one can find several "Romanians", including the fabulous Peter Wertheimer - in my opinion one of the greatest saxophonists.

When Gia Ionesco arrived in Israel from Romania, he was immediately absorbed into the local scene, and the formation of "Changes" was soon to follow. His inexhaustible energy, somehow weird sense of humor and an extraordinary devotion to music bought him many fans and followers. Although deeply rooted in the music of the great progressive rock and jazz-rock groups of the 70's, his musical approach is very modern and broadminded, and his virtuosity and inventiveness truly amazing.

The two other members of "Changes" are ideal companions to make this group a unique musical unit. Asaf Sirkis is a player of astonishing dynamics, sublime sophistication and finesse. His performances on this record rival the achievements by players of international fame, and I hope one day the worldwide jazz public will discover his name. Gabriel Meir on the other hand is a classic example of stability and serenity, without which "Changes" probably would tend to drift towards chaos and anarchy, in the "heat of creation". However, this poise should not be mistaken for lack of imagination - his intense and spirited playing throughout this record is truly inspirational.

The choice of material for this record is also quite unusual. The tracks vary from completely improvised pieces to carefully arranged compositions. Among the numerous versions of "Summertime" one can find on records, the one included here - a suite of seven variations on the theme by George Gershwin - is truly brilliant. The beautiful arrangement of Béla Bartók's "Dawn" is (as far as I know) the world premiere recording of this recently discovered composition by the master.

May 1993

Gia "Riemer" Ionesco - Keyboards
Gabriel Meir - Bass Guitar
Asaf Sirkis - Drums
with
Harold Rubin - Clarinet
Albert Beger - Soprano Saxophone
Eli Benacot - Tenor Saxophone

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EYRAN KATSENELENBOGEN ~ ONE TIME
JAZZIS 1023
Recorded: 1992 Released: 1994

Four years ago I received in my mail a cassette containing a series of solo piano pieces by an anonymous young Israeli pianist - Eyran Kacenelenbogen. I fell in love with his music immediately, and a few weeks later Eyran's first solo album "Jazzonettes" was released. This album created quite a stir and received a wide following both by jazz and contemporary classical music connoisseurs.

It was quite natural that the first album should emphasize Eyran's talents as a gifted composer and outstanding improviser, combined with the vitality and spirit of youth. Now his second album, recorded two years later, provides him with an opportunity to review the music that influenced him since his childhood. He adds his personal experiences to the basic motifs, creating layers upon layers of musical tapestries.

Solo piano recordings can be quite demanding, but the music presented here has such natural flow and inner beauty, that one hardly notices the time passing by, when listening to it. I only hope that this music will give the listeners as much pleasure, as it gave Eyran to create it and me to produce this album.

June 1994

Eyran Katsenelenbogen - Piano

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TOVY MESHOULAM ~ ETERNALLY SPONTANEOUS
JAZZIS 1024
Recorded: 1993 Released: 1994

Jazz is characterized and identified by the creativity of the moment - improvisation, but as in every other Art Form, so jazz is based on meticulous planning and intentional creation of a particular atmosphere and specific sound. These elements serve as the foundation and inspiration to every improviser, and it is up to the composer and the arranger to provide the performing musician with these elements. This album is an excellent example of such cooperation between the composers, the arranger and the performing artists.

Tovy Meshoulam, who proved his great arranging skills on his previous record "Acoustics", is determined to undertake an even more challenging project this time - to present a series of original jazz compositions written by himself and by two other young Israeli composers. The compositions vary in style and mood, taking us through modal, serial, Latin and rock music intertwined with jazz concepts. Tovy's brilliant arrangements add soul to this astounding music and create a tapestry of sound never before heard in this country.

The music presented here also demonstrates Tovy's involvement with other musical areas, especially the field of contemporary music. The composition "Metamorphosis", for example, was written for and performed by the Israeli "Musica Nova Consort". Here the composer touches upon philosophical subjects, such as the meaning of life and the circle of life as experienced by man.

It is interesting to see how well Tovy uses the instruments to create a "massive", almost Big Band sound, although he uses only a small ensemble of musicians. The voicing of the horns and the colors of sound combined with the vitality of the rhythm section is masterful.

The musicians chosen by Tovy to perform his musical ideas are the cream of Israel's jazz community. They are all gifted composers and band leaders, but on this album they concentrate on their skills as players and improvisers in order to achieve the goal set by the arranger. Their exceptional accomplishments, combined with Tovy's perfectionism and unconventional approach generate a truly brilliant effect. One can only hope that this album will become a "classic".

June 1994

Tovy Meshoulam - Trombone, Leader
Dror Ben-Gur - Tenor & Soprano Saxophones
Mark Rozen - Tenor & Alto Saxophones
Amos Ever Hadani - Guitar
Yaron Gottfried - Piano
Yorai Oron - Bass Guitar
Rony Holan - Drums
with
Arik Davidov - Flugelhorn
Ziv Ben - Alto Saxophone
Yosefa Meshoulam - Clarinet

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GRAHAM COLLIER ~ ADAM`S MARBLE
JAZZIS 1025
Recorded: 1995 Released: 1995

I have been dreaming about producing this album since 1986, and now I feel a great satisfaction, having made this particular dream come true. Graham Collier is not only a great personal friend, but also a phenomenal jazz composer, and every release of his music should bring pure joy to the world jazz community. I'm proud to be a part of this beautiful project.

April 1995

Following are Graham Collier's comments:

The Music:

Adam's Marble was especially composed for a tour of Israel in 1986 by my own small group. The composition is dedicated to Adam Baruch, promoter of the 1986 tour, and now owner of JAZZIS, an important record label on the Israeli jazz scene. The piece was a difficult one to develop and its title grew out of a statement by Michelangelo: "There is nothing in the mind of the artist which is not already contained in the piece of stone before him. All that he has to do is to get rid of the superfluous." The composition has been expanded for this project to feature a larger group of 15 musicians.

Bright As Silver (for Don & John) has been especially composed to accompany Adam's Marble for the concerts and recording. Although it was written as a dedication to two close friends of mine, whose long illnesses accompanied the writing and who passed away the day after the piece was finished, the composition is not meant to be morbid. Its title, a phrase about the sun, is meant to link my friends, who both lived in the Mediterranean, with this project in Israel. The phrase sums up the spirit of both men and that of the musicians involved here.

Aberdeen Angus was originally written in 1967 and recorded on "Down Another Road" LP. Its revival for this project has acted as a welcome reminder that there was an inherent openness in such pieces, a precursor of the style that now dominates my writing.

The Musicians:

The musicians are all studying at either the Royal Academy of Music in London, England, or the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in Ramat HaSharon, near Tel-Aviv, Israel. They should be considered as young professionals, some on the threshold of their careers, some already in the process of getting established in their respective countries. I hope that this project will start them on the road to international recognition.

Graham Collier - February 1995

Graham Collier - Conductor
Patrick White - Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Stephen Main - Alto & Soprano Saxophone
Daniel Frenkel - Soprano Saxophone
Mitchell Rosen - Tenor Saxophone
Matt Colman - Trombone
Rafi Malkiel - Trombone
Eldad Tsabari - Flute
Yiftach Kadan - Guitar
Roy Ben-Sira - Electric Piano
Boris Malkovsky - Synthesizer
Peter James - Acoustic Piano
Mihaly Biggs - Acoustic Bass
Uri Shamir - Bass Guitar
Shahar Haziza - Drums
Russell Morgan - Drums & Percussion
with
Harold Rubin - Clarinet

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RAM-RIMON PROJECT ~ MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS
JAZZIS 1026
Recorded: 1995 Released: 1995

The idea behind this project was to put together jazz students from two different environments and see how things work out as far as mutual understanding, cooperation and interplay - all this in a short period of time. I promised to produce a CD if they can come up with 10 original compositions and perform them well enough to be worthy of recording. The results are here, and I don't regret a single moment spent on this project.

Both the compositions and the various small ensembles formed from the body of British and Israeli students are remarkable. If this is the level of today's jazz students, the jazz loving public can rest assure about the future of this beloved music of ours.

May 1995

Patrick White - Trumpet & Flugelhorn
Stephen Main - Alto & Soprano Saxophone
Daniel Frenkel - Soprano Saxophone
Mitchell Rosen - Tenor Saxophone
Matt Colman - Trombone
Rafi Malkiel - Trombone
Eldad Tsabari - Flute
Yiftach Kadan - Guitar
Roy Ben-Sira - Piano
Boris Malkovsky - Piano
Peter James - Piano
Mihaly Biggs - Acoustic Bass
Uri Shamir - Bass Guitar
Shahar Haziza - Drums
Russell Morgan - Drums & Percussion

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TOVY MESHOULAM ~ SLIDE BY SLIDE
JAZZIS 1027
Recorded: 1995 Released: 1997

Jazz and chamber music are similar in that, while both require an intricate interaction between the performers, they also allow for unique personal expression - in sound and in musical interpretation. This is why these two seemingly distant musical styles can be so successfully combined. This album is an example of such a combination.

The trombone quartet featured on this CD was formed by Tovy Meshoulam. Meshoulam, one of the leading trombone players in Israel, is also a prominent composer, arranger, conductor and music instructor. On this CD, he combines all of these: the quartet which is led by him, and whose other members are three of his best students - plays several compositions and arrangements by Tovy.

The material on this album ranges from jazz compositions by some of the greatest writers, through artistic interpretations of popular songs, to modern chamber music of complex harmonic contexts.

The selection and diversity of material fully demonstrates the unique sound and character of the trombone quartet. If you are fond of jazz or chamber music, you will without a doubt enjoy this unusual album.

October 1997

Tovy Meshoulam - Trombone, Leader
Erez Volk - Trombone
Gilad Mirsky - Trombone
Gal Hod - Bass Trombone

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HAROLD RUBIN ~ TRION
JAZZIS 1028 (Barcode: 663330102822)
Recorded: 2006 Released: 2007

It has been an immense pleasure to follow Harold’s creative process in the last 20 years as his producer and fan. His music keeps changing constantly, but always remains astonishing. I feel honored to be a part of the process, which brings this music out to people.

March 2007

Following are Harold Rubin's comments:

This music with its uneven pulse and fragmentation, has its own momentum and dynamics which we tried to maintain as constant elements within the making of the music wherever it took us. We wanted to create the feel and atmosphere of a trialogue between our three voices and still retain each voice as a separate entity. Shmil and Ram were stimulating, imaginative and at times unpredictable, which contributed to the immediacy and intensity of it all. Their input made the music possible and we look forward to developing its potential into something else.

I thank Mark Smulian and Ram Chadnofsky for their care and commitment to the work in the studio. We hope you enjoy listening to this, as much as we did making it.

Harold Rubin - March 2007

Harold Rubin - Clarinet, Voice
Shmil Frenkel - Bass
Ram Gabay - Drums

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OFER SHAPIRO ~ TWO VIEWS
JAZZIS 1029 (Barcode: 663330102921)
Recorded: 2010 Released: 2010

It's an immense pleasure, as usual, to release another excellent Israeli Jazz album. The maturing Israeli Jazz scene produces many exceptional Artists, Ofer Shapiro being a fine example of this phenomenon. Listen and enjoy!

December 2010

Ofer Shapiro - Soprano, Alto & Tenor Saxophone
Gary Smulyan - Baritone Saxophone
Ofer Ganor - Guitar
Assaf Hakimi - Bass
Shay Zelman - Drums

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DAVE LIEBMAN BIG BAND ~ TOMORROW'S EXPECTATIONS
JAZZIS 1030 (Barcode: 663330103027)
Recorded: 2012 Released: 2013

When the Israeli composer / arranger / bassist Arnon Palty approached me with the prospect of releasing on my Jazzis label his project, which involved the incredible Dave Liebman Big Band, I agreed immediately. Liebman has been one of my great musical heroes since his days with Miles Davis and our paths have crossed several times over time. He even participated in a recording session in 1988 for an album I was producing for my label at the time with the group Zaviot (JAZZIS 1005). We managed to kidnap Dave for a couple of hours immediately after a gig he was playing in Tel Aviv and he casually entered the studio and told the group to carry on, joining them soon after and blowing our brains out with his playing.

Of course a Big Band is quite another matter. The music is performed by a large group of musicians, which requires coordination, preparation and of course arrangements, which are an essential ingredient of every Big Band venture. Arnon Palty really made a first-rate job writing these splendid arrangements heard on this album. Of the nine pieces performed here five are Liebman originals, one is a re-worked standard, two are originals by Palty and the remaining one is a traditional Arabic piece Palty dressed up cleverly in Jazzy disguise. Palty also plays a couple of juicy electric bass solos, proving that his chops are as hot as his arrangements.

The Big Band, directed by Gunnar Mossblad, is something else. These guys can play anything and their precision and professionalism is simply amazing. Regardless if they blow the roof off the studio or play gently behind the soloist, they are always in top form. And then of course there is Dave Liebman, playing most of the solo spots with his incredible tone, voicing and virtuosity. Easily moving between melodic statements and quite complex almost free improvisations, Liebman is always on top of everything that is happening around him, proving again his completely unique personality and talent.

This music is completely universal and should appeal to Jazz lovers of all ages. There is absolutely nothing like the sound of a great Big Band playing as one unified musical entity. Once you've listened to this album, you'll understand what I'm talking about.

September 2013

Dave Liebman - Futured Soloist, Soprano Saxophone, Wooden Flute
Saxophones:
Gunnar Mossblad - Director, Alto & Soprano Saxophones, Flute, Picolo, Clarinet
Charles Pollow - Alto Saxophone, Oboe, Flute
Dave Rickenberg - Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Tim Ries - Tenor Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet
Jay Brandford - Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet
Trumpets / Flugelhorns:
Danny Cahn
Bob Millikan
Dave Ballou
Patrick Dorian
Trombones:
Tim Sessions
Scott Reeves
Sam Burtis
Jeff Nelson - Bass Trombone
Rhythm Section:
Jim Ridl - Piano, Synthesizer
Vic Juris - Guitar
Tony Marino - Bass
Marko Marcinko - Drums
with
Arnon Palty - Arranger, Electric Bass Solos, Keyboards

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SHATEA ~ WAITING
JAZZIS 2001
Recorded: 1992 Released: 1992

Just until a few weeks ago I'd been convinced that my 25 years of experience in the music scene made me completely immune to any surprises. "I've heard it all before", I used to say to myself, when opening my box at the post office and looking at a stack of packages containing cassettes from groups from all over the world, who want me to produce a CD for them on my label, or listening on the radio to all the "hot new releases" while driving my car.

Then one evening I went to a local recording studio and the sound engineer told me about a rock group, recording their first CD in the studio and that I should listen to this material. He also mentioned that the group members are Israeli Arabs from Haifa, the lead singer is a girl and they sing in Arabic. "A rock group singing in Arabic?, you must be kidding!", I said in disbelief, but he already had my attention. A few days later I was sitting in the studio with the members of Shatea, listening to the tapes. After listening to just two songs, which were "almost ready" at that time, I decided immediately that I'm interested to produce this CD, and now it's done.

I believe that this is one of the best rock albums ever produced in Israel. Of course I can be hardly objective about it, but my sense of aesthetics and my love for music tells me I'm right. This is not "easy music", and although it makes a tremendous impact the first time one listens to it, it takes several "sessions" of attentive listening to appreciate it in full. This music is packed with ideas and feelings, twisting and turning of musical themes and layers, tonal jests and other inventions, making this CD a "chest of treasures".

One of the reasons I like this music is that it stirs in me associations with the "golden age" of rock music - the late 60's and early 70's. If the reader of these notes should think, that comparing this music with something done almost 30 years ago is an insult rather than a compliment, he's making a grave mistake. This period of "rock explosion" was undoubtedly the most creative in the history of modern music and it gave the world not only the Beatles and the Stones, but also groups with visionary ability like Yes, Led Zeppelin, Family and Gentle Giant and genius virtuoso players like Jimmy Hendrix, John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman, who really fathered the "shape of things to come". I still remember the feeling of my hair standing up at the back of my neck, when I placed each new album on the turntable. Sadly enough the only feeling I have these days, when listening to new efforts by rock groups, is a stretch of boring, frustrating, almost painful brainlessness and musical impotency. This is why I'm proud to be a part of creating something that is an extension of the tradition rather than merging with the crowds of today's "little gray man".

If someone should criticize the length of this CD (just over 32 minutes), I tell him: "Please give me 32 minutes of pure gold instead of years of boredom". There is so much here to listen to, that it'll take many hours to digest. Just listen!

June 1992

Safa'a Ammar - Lead Vocals
Klofa Totary - Guitar, Vocals
Kareem Nusser - Keyboards, Vocals
Sami Kamboura - Keyboards
Raymond Haddad - Bass Guitar
Samer Azar - Drums
with
Shlomi Goldenberg - Saxophone
Bishara Khell - Violin, Piano
Jamil Dau - Oud

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WHITEFLAG PROJECT ~ TALK
JAZZIS 2002 (Barcode: 663330200221)
Recorded: 1998 - 2008 Released: 2009

The Israeli / Palestinian band WhiteFlag Project is a completely unique phenomenon on the world music scene. WhiteFlag was founded in 1998 by six musicians from Tel Aviv / Israel and Gaza / Palestine: Mark Smulian, Israel (a founding member of the legendary band Zaviot, who also recorded on Jazzis Records) a songwriter, bassist, vocalist, producer; Shadi AlHaj, Palestine, composer, lyricist and oriental keyboard player, master of minimalism; singer Gani Tamir, Israel, an acclaimed and extraordinarily versatile vocalist; Yassin Hussen, Gaza a wonderful vocalist, with a deep deep voice; Zaher Abdul Jawad, Gaza groovin' on the oud; Katja Cooper, Israel / USA holding the 'time' down in all styles.

The band went through a convoluted history, as complex and torturous as the People of the Middle East themselves (There is an extensive coverage of the band's history on their website). In the process the band managed to record a demo CD in Switzerland in 2005 and continued recording sporadically, whenever the circumstances allowed it, until 2008, when Mark collected their entire recorded material and spent months in the studio mixing, overdubbing and polishing it, to create this, their debut album.

The result is a stunning display of talent, ingenuity, dedication and musical intensity rarely found on this planet. A sublime mixture of Rock, Prog, Jazz and a plethora of World Music motifs, mostly from the incredibly rich heritage of Middle Eastern music, the album consists of ten beautiful tunes, all composed by Smulian. Other musicians taking part in the project are guitarist Aharele Liberman and Salech Awad on darbuka. Many more musicians appear as guest on the album.

Although hardly objective, being the album's executive producer and releasing it on my label, I stand 100% behind this music, not only because of what is symbolizes, but foremost because it is simply divine music. I can not imagine anybody not liking it, and I assure you that repeated listening will reveal many hidden treasures. This music hits you straight in the soul, it's irresistible and overwhelming! Give it a chance!

December 2009

Gani Tamir - Vocals
Yasin Hussen - Vocals
Mark Smulian - Vocals, Bass, Guitar
Ahrele Liberman - Guitar
Salech Awad - Darbuka
Zaher Abed Al-Jawad - Oud, Violin
Shadi Alhaj - Keyboards
Katya Cooper - Percussion
with
Susanne Dubach - Violin
Shy Miara - Drums
Itamar Doari - Percussion
Dory Snir - Guitar
Isham Ab Meites - Oud
Jabar Alhaj - Oud
Talia Smulian - Vocals
Mika Smulian - Vocals
Sasha Shlain - Keyboards

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NICK MILLER ~ MY MEMORIES
JAZZIS 2003 (Barcode: 663330200320)
Recorded: 2012 Released: 2013

This is the debut solo album by Israeli guitarist / composer Nick Miller. Nick, who was born in Moldova, immigrated to Israel in 1978 and was immediately absorbed by the local Rock scene. In the early 1990s he was a founding member of the legendary Israeli Rock group Stella Maris, which took the local scene by storm, playing a unique brand of melodic Hard Rock in the best tradition of the early 1970s. The original lineup of Stella Maris released two excellent albums before it folded soon after the second album was released, the latter of which was produced by the renowned British producer / sound engineer Chris Tsangarides, who worked with such celebrated Rock stars like Judas Priest, Gary Moore, Helloween, Yngwie Malmsteen, Thin Lizzy and many others. During these recording sessions Nick and the rest of the band became friends with Chris and kept in touch continuously, occasionally working together. The band released three additional albums over time, with Nick playing the lead guitar on all of them.

Nick, who always wanted to record a solo album, somehow never managed to realize his dream for many years. Finally in September 2012 he flew over to the UK, where he met Chris and several wonderful players, and recorded his debut solo album. He brought over from Israel his faithful cohort, keyboardist Fima Shuster, and was joined by world-class bassist Jeff Berlin and drummer Craig Ellis. The album consists of ten tracks, nine of which were composed by Nick and one by Chris, who also wrote the lyrics to that song. Eight of the tracks are instrumentals and two feature vocals by guest singer Mike Freeland, who also wrote the lyrics to the other song. Chris produced the album, engineered and mixed it, achieving a truly spectacular result. The sound quality and overall ambience of this album is simply marvelous.

Nick's music and his virtuosic abilities as a guitarist are the two focal points of this album. His ability to weave beautiful melodies, which are lyrical and romantic on one hand and energetic and full of life on the other, is simply astounding. The music amalgamates a wide range of influences, like Classic Rock, Hard Rock and Blues with touches of East European and Middle Eastern folklore, which together create a unique musical experience. His guitar playing may contain traces of such illustrious Masters as Gary Moore, Jeff Beck or Jan Akkerman, but it is first and foremost Nick Miller and his very individual way of touching the strings, unparalleled by no other guitarist.

Of course Jeff Berlin plays some breathtaking bass phrases on this album and Craig Ellis supports the music steadily as a rock (pun intended), but Nick is at the center of things at all times and his fans, old and new, will have plenty of opportunity to enjoy his artistry to the outmost.

This music is completely universal and should appeal to music lovers of all ages, from old-timers who were lucky to enjoy the 1960s / 1970s in person to young listeners, who are just discovering Rock. There is so much great quality music here, that you simply can't go wrong!

April 2013

Nick Miller - Guitar
Fima Shuster - Keyboards
Jeff Berlin - Bass
Craig Ellis - Drums
Mike Freeland - Vocals

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