The Arty Semite

The Assaf Kehati Trio Jazzes Up The Beehive and The Blue Note

By Benjamin Ivry

  • Print
  • Share Share
Courtesy Assaf Kehati

Music lovers preoccupied with the question of “whither Jewish jazz?” will want to attend the June 19 performance by the Assaf Kehati Trio at Boston’s The Beehive, in anticipation of their scheduled sets at New York’s The Blue Note on August 1.

The trio consists of guitarist Assaf Kehati, an Israeli-born resident of Boston, veteran drummer Billy Hart (who is something of a legend for his performances and recordings with McCoy Tyner, Herbie Hancock and Stan Getz), and bass player Noam Wiesenberg, an Israeli graduate of the Berklee College of Music. The trio’s repertoire includes Kehati and Hart’s own compositions, the work of neglected songwriters like Arthur Altman, as well as decidedly non-neglected composers like George Gershwin and Irving Berlin.

Kehati acquired his musical mastery as a student at the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in Ramat Hasharon, a school that has gained a considerable reputation in the jazz world. In addition to his work with the trio, Kehati also performs in a fairly funkadelic quartet featuring Israeli percussionist Udi Shlomo, with whom he has just released a new CD, “A View From My Window” on his own AKJazz label.

The view from bassist Noam Wiesenberg’s window was doubtless augmented by his father, the eminent Israeli composer Menachem Wiesenberg. Early on, the elder Wiesenberg introduced Noam to classical, jazz and rock music, as well as melodies from India and Africa. By age eight, Noam began a decade-long stint as a student of the noted Israeli cellist Hillel Zori.

The father-son influence went both ways, however, as Menachem Wiesenberg observes in program notes to a 2009 Kansas City Symphony performance of his 2002 orchestral work “Reflections,” in which he credits his “younger son, Noam, who is a jazz double bass player” with providing inspiration.

For his part, the younger Wiesenberg honed his artistry with such noted musicians as trumpeter Avishai Cohen, bassist Omer Avital, Matisyahu, and the remarkable percussionist Zohar Fresco, who offered his own personal conservatory of rhythmic ingenuity. While The Kehati Trio generally offers sophisticated, limpidly understated coolness, focusing with seeming imperturbability on lightly swinging melodic lines, Wiesenberg is equally calm and masterful on upbeat tunes like Gershwin’s “Lady Be Good.”

All told, the Assaf Kehati Trio is an acutely skilled ensemble, not to be missed.

Watch Assaf Kehati and friends playing Kehati’s festive composition “Passover”:


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: AKJazz, A View From My Window, Arthur Altman, Asaf Kehati Trio, Assaf Kehati, Avishai Cohen, Berklee College of Music, Billy Hart, George Gershwin, Herbie Hancock, Hillel Zori, Irving Berlin, Jazz, Kansas City Symphony, Matisyahu, McCoy Tyner, Menachem Weisenberg, Music, Noam Wiesenberg, Omer Avital, Rimon School of Jazz, Stan Getz, The Beehive, The Blue Note, Udi Shlomo, Zohar Fresco

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • How about a side of Hitler with your spaghetti?
  • Why "Be fruitful and multiply" isn't as simple as it seems:
  • William Schabas may be the least of Israel's problems.
  • You've heard of the #IceBucketChallenge, but Forward publisher Sam Norich has something better: a #SoupBucketChallenge (complete with matzo balls!) Jon Stewart, Sarah Silverman & David Remnick, you have 24 hours!
  • Did Hamas just take credit for kidnapping the three Israeli teens?
  • "We know what it means to be in the headlines. We know what it feels like when the world sits idly by and watches the news from the luxury of their living room couches. We know the pain of silence. We know the agony of inaction."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.