The Schmooze

Small Nations Stick Together at the Israeli Jazz Festival

So, what was a non-Jewish, non-Israeli Cuban doing organizing the NYC Israeli Jazz Festival, anyway?

“Someone had to do it,” said Roberto Rodriguez who composes, leads and plays drums for the Cuban Jewish All-Stars. After 20 shows and over 1000 people passing through the doors at John Zorn’s non-profit jazz space The Stone last week, Rodriguez expressed quite a bit of — well, nachas — at what he and the musicians were able to create from May 20 to 30.

“I wanted to show how deep and influential Israelis have become in the New York Jazz scene,” he said. “They come from a small country, like Cuba, and they play in such different styles. I couldn’t get that kind of diversity from any other country.”

With performances that ranged from the emerging Oz Noy to the polished Avishai and Anat Cohen brother sister combo, the audiences of the festival were treated to the exploration and virtuosity that Israeli musicians are bringing out of Israel and to the streets of New York.

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Small Nations Stick Together at the Israeli Jazz Festival

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