Some Israeli Riffs In New York

Some Israeli Riffs In New York

As a music student in Manhattan for six years two decades ago, Israel’s Amir Gwirtzman has performed many times in New York City.

Last week he made his solo debut here.

Gwirtzman, a native of Tel Aviv and master of a score of instruments, performed as a solo act here for the first time, at the Lower East Side club Pianos. He’s one of an impressive number of Israeli jazz musicians who perform often in the city’s jazz scene; collectively they have lent it a decidedly Middle Eastern flavor.

The multi-reed player did his usual repertoire — a mixture of saxophone and clarinet and flute, some klezmer and “Oseh Shalom” and a lot of jazz.

“I connected with the people,” an inter-racial, inter-religious crowd, says Gwirtzman, who has brought his eclectic shows around the world.

Before his gig at Pianos, which featured some numbers accompanied by French musician Mino Cinelu, Gwirtzman practiced at a sub-leased apartment in Manhattan.

And before he came North, he spent a few months touring the South and performing, for the second consecutive year, under the aegis of the visiting artists program of the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life, based in Jackson, Miss.

His one-man band is called Inhale-Exhale; he’s also a member of Israel’s cross-genre Esta group, and of the Sleeping Camels international ensemble.

A New York crowd is a tough, “cynical” crowd, Gwirtzman says. But Gwirtzman was satisfied by his reception here. “It felt good,” he says. “I’m definitely coming back to New York.”

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