The Israeli jazz scene has received much international notice recently, with such stars as bassist Omer Avital, trombonist Avi Lebovich, pianist Omer Klein, and the three brilliant Cohen siblings Anat (clarinet), Avishai (trumpet), and Yuval (saxophone)—all graduates of Thelma Yellin High School of the Arts.
Ramat HaSharon is home to the influential Rimon School of Music (which partners with Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music), and Tel Aviv’s Israel Conservatory of Music has a thriving Center for Jazz Studies. Jazz can be heard in nightclubs and concert halls in every major Israeli city, and at annual gatherings such as the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, which has been drawing crowds of music lovers to this southernmost point in the country since 1987.
In recent years, the United States has been catching on to the potential of jazz from this region: Chicago hosts the annual Israeli Jazz and World Music Festival, and New York was the site of the Jazzrael festival in 2012, as well as of 2016’s Israeli Jazz Spotlight Festival. As New York Times jazz critic Nate Chinen has observed: “Over the last fifteen years, Israel has produced and exported so many serious young musicians that the jazz landscape is hard to picture without their influence.”