Jack DeJohnette headlining Red Sea Jazz Festival

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Wednesday August 12, 2015

From Jerusalem Post
By Barry Davis

Jazz: Keeping time with DeJohnette

When it comes to jazz drummers on the contemporary scene, they don’t come much more illustrious than Jack DeJohnette. The 73-year- old musician is one of the big draws in lineup of this year’s Red Sea Jazz Festival, which will take place at the Port of Eilat August 23 to 26. DeJohnette and his trio will perform there on the last two days of the festival.

DeJohnette has been there and done that in practically every avenue of jazz endeavor, and more. Bill Evans at the Montreux Jazz Festival has long been one of my favorite albums. It was recorded live at the 1968 edition of the famed Swiss jazz event, with the fabled pianist joined by bassist Eddie Gomez and DeJohnette. The performance earned the trio the 1969 Grammy for Best Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group. ‘Yes, that was quite something playing with Bill then,’ says the drummer, although noting that thing got even better. ‘After that we went to Ronnie Scott’s [jazz club in London] for a month, and you can imagine how good we got playing together for a whole month.’

Although only in his mid-20s, by the time the Bill Evans trio got to London the drummer had already mixed it with some of the icons of the business. ‘I had already played with [legendary trumpeter] Miles [Davis] before that, before I actually joined him, when I filled in for Tony Williams. Miles already knew who I was, and I also played with John Coltrane,’ he says. In Eilat, DeJohnette will be joined by the aforementioned feted saxophonist’s son Ravi Coltrane, who also plays saxophone, with Matt Garrison on bass. ‘I also played with Matt’s father,’ notes the elder statesman drummer, referring to bass player Jimmy Garrison, who died in 1976 at the age of only 42. Both of DeJohnette’s sidemen for the Eilat gigs lost their fathers when they were very young, with Coltrane Sr. passing in 1967 at the age of 40, just a few days before Ravi’s second birthday.

DeJohnette was born in Chicago and fed off a diverse musical diet. ‘I listened to classical music and rock and roll, country music, folk and jazz on old 78s. I had an uncle who was into jazz, and he helped to inspire me to take that direction. I listened to everything. I don’t differentiate between types of music. I don’t categorize,’ he says.

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