The 2017 Tel Aviv Jazz Festival celebrates 100 years of Ella, Monk, Billie and more

Written by
Jennifer Greenberg

While the Red Sea Jazz Festival gives August a jazzy rep, Tel Aviv & Jerusalem haven taken the cake in making December the unofficial month of jazz. Just as the Jerusalem Jazz Festival draws to a close, Tel Aviv Cinematheque (in conjunction with Zappa Tel Aviv & Zappa Herzliya) has packed an impressive schedule of 20 performers from Israel and abroad, including: Ester Rada, Daniel Jobim, Dee Alexander, and the famed Ravi Coltrane.

With original productions, live shows, free performances (every evening outside the Cinematheque), and tributes to the greats, the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival is the best way to ring in the winter. Here's a taste of this year's talent:

Daniel Jobim - Wed, Dec 6 @ 20:00 (Hall 3)

During his career, pianist and composer Daniel Jobim, son of guitarist Paulo Jobim, has performed with Stevie Wonder, Sting, Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, and Milton Nascimento, as he keeps the traditional Bossa Nova genre alive. At the festival, he will perform with an Israeli ensemble made up of the best musicians in the country.

NIS 219-249

Gadi Lehavi & Ravi Coltrane - Thu, Dec 7 @ 20:00 (Hall 3)

The esteemed composer and saxophonist Ravi Coltrane returns to Israel to perform with the gifted Israeli pianist Gadi Lehavi. Coltrane, second son of the legendary John Coltrane, has been nominated for three Grammys, collaborated with many artists, and founded the independent label RKM. Israeli pianist Gadi Lehavi, known as "The Wonder Boy," was discovered by Coltrane at the age of 13 in a New York club. The two have performed together on important stages in New York and around the world and will now meet again at the Tel Aviv Jazz Festival.

NIS 189-219

Courtesy of PR

Ester Rada pays tribute to Billie Holiday - Fri, Dec 8 @ 20:30 (Hall 1)

This special performance, exclusively produced for the festival, will feature Ester Rada in a tribute to jazz legend Billie Holiday. "I was exposed to Billie after reading countless interviews with my favorite artists who all mentioned her as an inspiration. Billie is a true soul singer, presenting her wounded heart without filters. You cannot remain indifferent to her singing," says Rada. Rada will also perform songs from her latest album, Different Eyes.

NIS 124-154

Ester Rada

© Sherban Lupo

Dee Alexander - Ellabration! 100 Years of Ella Fitzgerald - Thu, Dec 7 @ 22:30 (Hall 3)

Jazz vocalist of the year, Dee Alexander, is one of the most prominent jazz singers and composers in the Chicago jazz scene. She blends blues and neo-soul with gospel and R&B, and uses her virtuoso voice to present each style with passion and love. At the festival, she will sing from the rich repertoire of jazz queen Ella Fitzgerald on what would have been Ella's 100th birthday.

NIS 219-249

Red Band - Unplugged - Fri, Dec 8 @ 23:00 (Hall 3)

An intimately hilarious premiere show reveals the stories that have never been told through a fresh acoustic performance of Red Band's greatest hits, plus new arrangements. Red shares the whole truth (and nothing but the truth) about the moments and people he met on his journey to stardom, his unforgettable experiences, and how he became the rock and roll legend that he is–against his will– today.

NIS 109-139

Red Band

Courtesy of PR

Tony Kofi Quartet - Thelonious Monk at 100 - Wed, Dec 6 @ 22:00 (doors 20:15) - Zappa Herzliya

British multi-instrumentalist Tony Kofi is coming to Israel for the first time to perform a 100th birthday celebration dedicated entirely to jazz piano icon Thelonious Monk. As a saxophone player and flutist, Kofi heads a number of ensembles with which he performs at the most prestigious jazz festivals and clubs around the world. In fact, he is bringing his ensemble "The Monk Liberation Band" to Israel directly from the prestigious London Jazz Festival.

NIS 249


The Tel Aviv Jazz Festival takes place in and around Tel Aviv Cinematheque, Zappa Tel Aviv, & Zappa Herzliya from December 6-8. Check out the event here.

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