Around the World: Israel’s Anat Fort

22 Aug

It’s a small world when vacation intercedes. Around the World resumes this week and will continue weekly:

Here’s where Israeli pianist Anat Fort is like all of us, according to her website: she spends too much time on the computer, drinks a cup or two of coffee a day and sprinkles her week with good chocolate and red wine.

Here’s where she’s different from most of us: her musical rabbi is renowned drummer Paul Motian, her teacher was pianist Paul Bley and her album And If  was picked as one of 2010’s 10 best in jazz by slate.com’s Fred Kaplan.

“The Israeli-born pianist Anat Fort’s second CD with her trio is turbulent but spare, knife-edged but tender, brimming with melodic hooks that loop in sinuous shapes and a slightly klezmeric insouciance,” wrote Kaplan, in words that might be easier to understand if they were in Hebrew if you’re not a jazz fan. Or even if you are.

But know that it’s high praise indeed. And that Fort and her international trio — American bassist Gary Wang and German drummer Roland Schneider — perform up to it.

Born near Tel Aviv and trained classically, Fort came to America to study at William Paterson University in New Jersey. She’s divided her time between the U.S.’s established jazz scene and the burgeoning Israeli one ever since.

Wrote Geoffrey Himes in the Jewish Times: “Anat Fort is not the first person to discover that you can understand your homeland from a distance in ways you never could while living there. But she has translated those insights into compositions and arrangements marking her as one of the most promising pianists in jazz.”

The Village Voice’s Francis Davis said Fort was “a real discovery,” after her debut album, A Long Story, for ECM. A discovery that should be met with a hearty Mazel Tov.

Sources: Anatfort.com, stereophile.com, slate.com, ilikejazz.com

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