Israeli Jazz Series: Avishai Cohen, Trumpeter By Yossi Zwecker

Israeli Jazz Series: Avishai Cohen, Trumpeter By Yossi Zwecker

  • $957.00
  • Availability: 10

This photograph is part of Zwecker’s Israeli Jazz Musicians project, in which he sets out to document the great masters of Israeli jazz. While over the past several decades Israel has become one of the most innovative exporters of jazz music in the world, there has been almost no documentation of its founding musicians and younger protegees. Zwecker sees this project as his contribution to the construction of a narrative for Israeli Jazz, and to the effort to bring the vibrant national scene to the fore of public awareness.

Cohen is an Israeli trumpeter and composer and an internationally acclaimed jazz musician. Born in Tel Aviv in 1978, Cohen followed his two older siblings in their musical passion and asked to learn the trumpet at the age of eight. After completing his studies at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Cohen moved to New York City and played regularly at Small’s Jazz Club in the West Village, a fertile scene for developing jazzists. He is currently one of the most talked-about jazz musicians on the contemporary scene, named “Best Foreign Artist” in 2016 by Jazz Magazine France. His album Into the Silence was awarded “Best Album of the Year” by TSF Jazz and Academie du Jazz, and was included in the top 20 albums of the year by JazzTimes. Cohen is often compared to the legendary Miles Davis in his combination of lyricism and intellect. He currently lives in India with his wife and two children.

This work was made by Zwecker for the Second Jerusalem Jazz Festival in 2016, which was directed by Cohen and and brought together an eclectic list of musicians to perform in the galleries and open spaces of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. The photograph, which depicts Cohen playing his trumpet from within the structure of a reconstructed ancient synagogue displayed in the Israel Museum, brings together the grandeur of the museum and that of Cohen's music. “If you’re an artist, art excites you, it provokes,” said Cohen about playing music in the galleries. “The museum is an amazing tool and a challenge for the musicians.”

The staccato rhythm of the ancient columns swirl around Cohen as if crystallizing the music emanating from the musician’s instrument, brilliantly bringing together tradition and modernity in a single brush stroke. Cohen’s thick beard and Zwecker’s decision to photograph him in profile while standing in the ancient oratory, evoke the iconic image of Benjamin Zev Herzl, Israel’s “Prophet of the State”, thus making a cultural statement with a whiff of humour: perhaps the face of modern Zionism can be found in the cosmopolitan careers of Israel’s younger generations.

Israeli Jazz Series

The Avishai Cohen, Trumpeter work is part of Zwecker’s Israeli Jazz Musicians project, in which he set out to document the great masters of Israeli jazz, an older generation that is beginning to disappear. While over the past several decades Israel has become one of the most innovative exporters of jazz music in the world, there has been almost no documentation of its founding musicians. Zwecker sees this project as his contribution to the construction of a narrative for Israeli jazz, and to the effort to bring the vibrant national scene to the fore of public awareness.

The Jazz Series allows Zwecker to fuse together his twin passions for photography and music. He chooses to photograph his subjects in black and white as an homage to the great jazz photographers of the 1940s, creating a dramatic effect while simultaneously plunging the observer into the unique vibe of a packed jazz club. While many other musical genres are often presented in large arenas or concert halls, integral to jazz are the intimate spaces in which it is usually performed and the direct, unmediated relationship between the musician and the audience; a relationship that is a crucial component in the photographer’s subject material.

Yossi Zwecker

Born in Israel in 1965, Yossi Zwecker began his career as a news photographer before specializing in photography of the performing arts. He collaborates extensively with leading Israeli theater companies, dance troupes, and music venues, and currently serves as the house photographer for the Israel Opera House, Tel Aviv Center for Performing Arts, and the Israeli Ballet.
Read more about Yossi here