The TEL AVIV Underground Jazz Sessions ft/ The Alon Near Group
Thursday, January 20$25 – $35
Seating times: 7:00pm & 8:30pm. Doors open 30 minutes early.
TICKET AVAILABILITY: IF SELECTED TICKETS ARE “SOLD OUT”, PLEASE CHECK AVAILABILITY FOR ANOTHER TIME AND ANOTHER SEATING TYPE
JAZZ@theEDGE! The TEL AVIV Underground Jazz Sessions ft/ The Alon Near Group
Alon Near (Double Bass)
Hillel Salem (Trumpet)
Asaf Even Zur (Saxophone)
Guy Moskovich (Piano)
Alon Benjamini (Drums)
Transplanted from Tel Aviv to NYC, this fierce ensemble of monster musicians deftly explore and weave all the familiar sounds of jazz — funk, swing, hard bop, R&B — into their own internationally influenced and unique sound, rhythm and vibe. Their boundless performance energy and musical prowess is captivating and energizing. Band leader Alon Near is only 27, but he has performed in premier venues and festivals all over the world, including Carnegie Hall, NYC Winter Jazz Fest, Monte Carlo Jazz Festival and many more. Alon has shared stages with many renowned musicians including multi-Grammy winning Billy Childs, DownBeat darling Eli Degibri, piano legend Johnny O’neal and vocalist Alicia Olatuja. The group has a weekly gig at the venerable west village jazz hot spot Smalls, where they have finely honed their sound as a band.
The Black Cat Is Curious…
(9 questions, of course, with a bonus 10th)
1. What things are inspiring your creative energy at this moment?
First and foremost – our upcoming Black Cat residency! I wrote a bunch of music specifically for this band and this club, and have spent countless hours trying to capture the essence of the energy we felt the last time we played at Black Cat and put it into the music we are going to play now.
2. What music have you been listening to recently?
I’d say a lot of jazz, hard bop, R&B, funk and some folk and Israeli music. To be more specific I could just list my Spotify history – The Jazz Messengers, Roy Hargrove, PJ Morton, Stevie Wonder, D’angelo, Fleet Foxes, Yoni Rechter and so much more.
3. What set you on your life’s path in music?
Opportunities. I’m a yes man and I’m always happy and grateful to play any kind of music, on both upright and electric basses. I feel extremely lucky to be working with some of the most amazing musicians and people alive today and a lot of it I credit to the fact that I said yes to any offer made to me, and took the time to be serious and dive into other people’s music. As Roy Hargrove said: “If you take care of the music, it will take care of you”.
4. What artist (living or dead) would you like to share a stage with for one night, and why?
I would love to play with Ahmad Jamal. I feel like I would learn so much about swing, dynamics and honesty from playing with him, or even better – just hear his trio live at the Pershing. One of my all time favorites.
5. Your favorite vinyl is spinning. What are you drinking?
The Fritz Old Fashioned of course! A cocktail so good I named a tune after it. We will definitely play it and drink it in our upcoming residency.
6. Likely there are many…but name one person/place/thing that has helped shape you as an artist?
I would say saxophone player Eli Degibri. He is amongst the first to really believe in me. He took me on the road with him when I was still at school and I’m the bass player in his band to this very day. I learned and still am learning so much from playing in his band – how to be professional, reliable, and considerate and play my heart out and be in the moment every single show, no excuses.
7. You get one album to take to your desert island. Name it.
At this point of my day it’ll have to be PJ Morton’s “Piano Album”. We might even play some songs off of that at Black Cat!
8. What is a musical or creative moment you’ll always remember?
I remember playing a show at Smalls Jazz Club with our trumpet player Hillel Salem, alongside Keith Brown on piano and Byron Landham on the drums. There was something magical about how Byron played that night and how we all sounded together. Felt almost too good and just effortless and fun.
9. We’re stoked to have you on stage at Black Cat! What are you envisioning for your time with us?
Last time we came we prepared a lot of straight ahead jazz and as soon as we got to the club and felt the vibe we understood we needed to expand our boundaries and do something we’ve never done before. I took an electric bass from the back instead of my upright and we started to groove. It felt amazing and since then that was almost everything we played. I honestly think that no matter what my expectations are for this residency, they will likely change as soon as we let the unexpected happen. The only thing I’m a hundred precent sure of is how much fun we are going to have!
10. The Pandemic has affected all of us. How has it affected both you personally and your music?
I suddenly found myself going from playing a show every day to not playing a show for about a year or so. I spent a lot of time back in Israel in the house I grew up in and I felt like it connected me with my inner child that I left behind going to New York. I started to write music from a more honest place and I really like what came out from that time. To this day things are not the same as they were and I keep getting shows and tours canceled all the time, but it helps knowing that even when there’s nothing to look forward to in terms of future shows, I still spend most of my days practicing and making music.