Meet the Jazzraelites
All Six members have known each other for years, playing and creating music together, sharing their love for Jazz and Jewish music, performing ensemble or solo but always creating and enhancing on their unique harmony of the two genres.
The Ensemble’s credo:
Music is an international language. Every culture has developed its own unique style of music enabling the people to express themselves in a range of human emotions and perceptions. The music may be different but the human element is common to us all. Jewish music combined with jazz offers a new experience in music fusion enabling us to give vent and empathize on both intellectual and emotional planes.
The Ensemble’s goals:
To bring the joy of creating music to communities throughout the world, to preserve and develop Jewish traditional music in our modern era.
Keren Friedman -Vocalist
Singer, songwriter and soloist in various musical ensembles which she has established, Keren Friedman teaches voice development and as a certified Feldenkrais practioner she combines the Feldenkrais method with the principles of singing to improve voice ability and timbre. Keren also runs a music management business.
Born in Zichron Yaakov in 1974, Keren began her musical career at the age of 12 with the “Banot Aviv” choir under the tutelage of the legendary conductor Itzhak Gratziani z”l. Since then she has performed on stage in Israel and abroad, solo and with other top rate artists, and featured on two disks, the first a compilation of children’s songs by author Hanny and composer Amarillo and the second “Nostalgia” – a collection of Jazz ballads and Israeli songs with the musicians mentioned below.
Pursuing her professional career, Keren studied vocal performance at the “Rimon” school of jazz and contemporary music where she focused on jazz and joined up with some of the outstanding musicians in Israel.
Today, these musicians comprise an integral part of “Keren Friedman & the Jazzraelites” which she founded together with Tamir Miller, pianist and music arranger of the ensemble.
In establishing the Jazzraelites Keren created the perfect stage to combine her traditional heritage with her love of jazz. Together with Tamir Miller they created a unique ensemble which reintroduces songs from Jewish sources resulting in remarkable jazz creations. The ensemble also serves as a platform for original creations by the band members: Erez Bar-Noy – saxophonist and composer; Hagai Bilitzki – contrabassist and Middle East musician; Shay Zelman – internationally renowned drummer and producer, Daniel Hoffman — violinist and composer, international expert on the iidshai and Tamir Miller – pianist and arranger.
The Ensemble performs in various forums around the country and abroad, in festivals and for Jewish communities worldwide.
Tamir Miler – pianist, music composer and arranger
Tamir Miller began his musical career studying classical piano at the age of 8 and spent much of his childhood listening to classical music at his parents ‘ house. He discovered jazz in his teens and began to specialize in the genre studying with Rami Levi and Pisi Osherowitz.
After the army he studied at the Rimon School and received a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, Boston where he graduated with a BA in jazz piano under the tutelage of Ray Santisi and Laszlo Gardoni.
Upon his return to Israel, Tamir played in numerous bands and in a variety of styles at festivals and clubs in the country and abroad, and has recorded and performed with many artists, among others – Nathan Cohen, Roni Delumi, Dafna Armoni, Ehud Manor, Michel Varekamp, Dianne Reeves and many others.
The following are just some of his works in recent years:
“Every day Ritual” the cd featuring Ritual ensemble with guitarist Yossi Ifrach and Hadas Goldshmidt, composer, saxophonist and winner of the Prime Minister’s award.
Produced the album by the trio “Walk in spirit,” which includes 11 original compositions bordering between jazz, classic and ethnic. The album was released in May 2013 to enthusiastic public acclaim in, among others, the Internet magazine “Jazz weekly”.
Arrangement and Musical director of the disk and the show “I’ve Got Rhythm” with the “Yeladujazz” ensemble which aims to introduce jazz to Israeli youngsters.
Produced the book “The Art of Improvisation: for students of jazz improvisation.
Working and Managing Director of the Jazzraelites, a musical ensemble that combines ethnic songs and music with jazz.
Erez Barnoy – Saxophone
One of the leading Jazz saxophone players in Israel and a music writer.
Studied with Amikam Kimelman and Mamelo Gaitanopoulos, Billy Harper, George Garzon and many more. Graduate of the Rimon Jazz School and the Mannes College in N.Y (http://www.newschool.edu).
Spent many years in the N.Y. Jazz scene. Since his return to Israel, he has attended all the important Jazz events such as the internationally acclaimed jazz festivals at the Red Sea, Tel Aviv and Shuni.
He has played with leading Israeli Jazz artists such as Shay Zelman, Avishai Cohen, Amos Hoffman, Danny Gottfried, Arale Kaminsky and Amikam Kimelman and other leading musicians such as trumpet player Guy Barker, saxophone player Abraham Burton and many more.
Erez has his own active Jazz group where he shows his virtuosity and his creativity as a music writer.
Erez has established the New-School Israeli branch of the New School of Jazz & Contemporary music in NYC and leads the Jazz department.
He also teaches a new generation of Jazz artists at the Talma Yalin Music School, the Rimon Jazz School, the Tel Aviv Conservatorium and many artists’ workshops.
Daniel Hoffman – Violin
Born in California and a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, Daniel Hoffman is the founder of numerous US and Israeli-based ensembles. He is a leading innovator in new Jewish music and one of the foremost experts of the Yiddish violin style. As a composer, he has received numerous commissions for silent film scores, concert pieces, and theatrical scores including two musicals. He is currently performing with the renowned German-American cabaret artist Ute Lemper and has performed with many luminaries from the klezmer music world, including Frank London, Michael Alpert, Alicia Svigals, Steven Greenman, Walter Feldman and performs Turkish music with Harel Shachal and the Ottomans. Daniel relocated to Israel in 2005 and lives in Tel Aviv. He is currently creating a new documentary film series on the role of the violin in disparate cultures worldwide.
Hagai Bilitzky – contrabass
Hagai Bilitzky, contrabass artist, specializes in Middle East music and introducing traditional Arabic music to Western musicians.
Hagai teaches in the Middle Eastern Department of Music at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and at the department of jazz at the Conservatorium of the Academy of music. In addition he lectures and plays at International Conferences for Double Bass, such as the International Society of Bassists (ISB) Convention 2011, U.S. European Bass Convention 2012, ISB Convention N.Y. 2013, (solo recital) and in courses all over Israel such as “Sounds of the Valley”in Kfar Blum in the Galilee and “A Musical Discourse of Mediterranean Music” at the Mishkenot Sha’ananim in Jerusalem.
He has taught aural development at the Department of Composition and Conducting at the Multidisciplinary Department at the Academy of Music; arranged and instructed the IDF Education Corps Orchestra under the auspices of the Music Academy, in a program of Andalusian music. Hagai combines in his music innovative musical techniques in order to include the sound of the double bass as an integral part of the musical traditions of the authenticity of the Middle East.
Hagai developed a new technique to perform the unique elements of Arab music on the contrabass as part of his graduate studies at the Academy of Music, under the guidance of Dr. Michael Klinghoffer and Prof. Taiseer Elias. This technique allows the contrabass to perform at the front of the stage as a solo instrument in Arabic music and is demonstrated by him in classes and workshops worldwide.
As an artist, Hagai has performed with many world renowned musicians such as Abraham Salman, Taiseer Elias, Zohar Fresco and Simon Shaheen. He is a member of Arabic music and jazz ensembles and many ethnic music groups with the Ladino singer Yasmin Levy and the trio of Algerian pianist Maurice El Medioni.
Shay Zelman – percussion and producer
As far back as he can remember Shay wanted to be a drummer. His parents were dead set against it. So Shay began his musical career on the guitar. Throughout all those years, Shay played on improvised drums built by himself. At the age of 16 a friend bought him his first set of drums and he began studying drums with Joseph Burla and became the drummer of the Holon orchestra.
Shay began to listen to jazz records and when a record by Max Roach, the legendary drummer, reached his hands it revolutionized Shay who decided he was going to be a jazz drummer. During this time he performed with many outstanding Israeli artists such as Riki Gal, Dani Litani, Mati Caspi, performed in musicals, etc.).
Shay was discovered by Roy Krimmans, who established Big Band, the first jazz orchestra in Israel, and invited Shay to be the drummer for the band. Shay was considered by the tabloids to be “the boy wonder of Holon”.
In 1991 he was awarded an AICF scholarship as an outstanding musician and went to studied with Ed Tighpend in Denmark. Shay devoted himself to jazz , he studied auto didactically from records and closely studied all the different streams and periods of jazz. With Ed he learned the art of brushing and studied Bebop, Hard Bop, Swing style and more. Over the years, the local Israeli boy wonder had become an international artist.
Between 1998/9 Shay travelled to New York to learn and be part of the jazz scene in New York. Since then Shay has taken it upon himself to promote jazz in Israel. With this goal in mind he strives to bring the best jazz artists in the world to Israel, not only in order to bring jazz and the Israeli audience closer together but also to encourage newer generations to create Israeli jazz.
Shay has produced and directed dozens of jazz festivals in Israel such as Hot Jazz Festival – Tel-Aviv Museum, Caesarea Jazz Festival, the Jazz Festival at the Weizmann Institute. He has also been involved in musical collaborations with the world’s great jazz creators:
Pianists – John Hicks, Kirk Lightsey, and Larry Willis with whom he collaborated on many tours, co-published records with Willis and more.
Musicians from New York and Europe – Joe Gnerli, Jim Rotondi, Curtis Fuller, John Weber, Abraham Burton, Peter Bernstein, Usha Adnet, Eric Alexander, Grant Stewart, Greg, Trudy, Tim Green, Jamie Green, Brown Gamio, Wycliffe Gordon, Wilson Cornill (Chambo) – to name but a few.