- Wednesday May 13th 9.30pm
- Sunday June 28th 9.30pm
But on 27-29 March I attended listmate Tamas’ Bohem Ragtime & Jazz Festival inKecskemet, Hungary. My third – and the best so far!
The Bohem Ragtime & Jazz Band celebrates its 30’s anniversary this year and must be among the best playing anywhere. Tamas doesn’t look old enough to have led a band that long, but there’s no arguing with facts. To me, a little orchestral ragtime goes a long way, so the ragtime pieces were not among my favourites, but on jazzier numbers the Bohemssound hot,swinging and inspired. And has several first class soloists:
In addition to his own band, Tamas came up with a fantastic lineup: the Alderighis (Paolo and his wife Stephanie Trick) on piano, the Echoes of Swing (Chris Hopkins on alto sax(!), Colin T. Dawson on trumpet, Bernd Lhotzky on piano and Oliver Mewes on drums), and the International All Stars led by Atilla Korb (Malo Mazurie – trumpet, Korb on his various instruments, Evan Arntzen – reeds, David Blenkhorn electric guitar, Sebastien Girardot – bass and Guillaume Nouvaux – drums).
Musicians hark from all over: Hungary, Germany, England, Australia and North America (Arntzen was labelled Canada/US), although the English Colin Dawson resides and plays in Germany, and this, I believe, also goes for the Aussie Blenkhorn.
The programme was extremely interesting. It started with the Bohems, followed after an intermission by the Echoes of Swing, on the second day there was a piano show with Trick,Alderighi, Lhotzky and Chris Hopkins, who is best known as a pianist and has a wonderful CD on Arbors (so does Lhotzky).
The first and second days ended with jam sessions, but most participants were the festival musicians. On both evenings there was a trombonist who did not play at the festival, and on the first one – another very young trombone player (he participated in jam sessions at the previous Bohem festivals I attended). The last day ended with a grand finale, with all hands on stage.
Something about the conditions: Due to renovations at the Cultural Centre, the festival was moved to the Four Points by Sheraton. The rooms were very good, staff friendly, but the conference hall where the concerts took place left a lot to be desired. The acoustic were hardly great, the floor was straight, so that the stage was not very visible from farther rows, so that they had to put a screen in the middle, and seating was on regular chairs.
Musically, as I have already mentioned, it was the best – yet – of those I have attended (I definitely do not exclude the possibility of attending additional Bohem festivals).
JAM/PICNIC 10:30, SWING DE GITANES AND FRIENDS CONCERT 12:30
Enjoy two well known jazz standards; Indiana and China Boy featuring Jaques Sany (Soprano Sax) , Amnon Ben Artsi (Trombone) , and Roy Rich (Guitar), as they and Pzazzband play some great jazz.
Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv is a wide, tree-lined central strip with pedestrian and bike lanes. On Shabbat and holidays it’s a magnet for the city’s varied population of all ages. This is especially true on a lovely spring day such as was the case this past Friday, the last day of Passover.
Following a showery morning, the sun broke through just before noon as if to acknowledge the unusual sight of a New Orleans Dixieland band leading an eclectic group of young swing dancers and others swaying to the sounds of this upbeat music. Led by Eli Preminger on trumpet and Amnon Ben-Artzi on trombone the entourage made its way from Habima Square toward Allenby to the sounds of “St. James Infirmary”, “Bourbon Street” and “Just A Closer Walk With Thee”.
Harvey Benson on snare drum kept the steady marching beat. A trio of visiting jazz musicians from Germany added more brass and clarinet making for a true marching jam session. Somewhere along the line a washboard and another drummer joined in.
By the time the group arrived at their destination near Allenby the parade had nearly tripled in size augmented by random Tel Avivians happy to join the festivity and dance along with the regulars.
For the next forty minutes or so, taking up positions by a park bench, we were treated to a rare example of the spontaneity of this music as more passing random musicians joined in. Eli would throw-out a suggestion for the next number, all would agree and decide on the key and away they went.
The spirited, talented Swing Dancers, who are always looking for an opportunity to enjoy dancing to live classic jazz, were decked out in vintage period clothes. As the musicians played, the dancers demonstrated their Jitter bugging and other dancing skills joined by a few older onlookers who remembered that dancing in the day meant holding your partner!
Dubbed “Mardi Gras Parade” this was the second year for the event. Eli Preminger organized the proceedings on a strictly voluntary basis and promised to be back next year.
Eli Preminger leads one of Israel’s finest New Orleans style groups performing regularly under the name “Eli and the Hot Chocolate Factory”. Check YouTube for examples.
Till next time – Frank