Piano Jazz Sessions: Yaron Herman Trio
Piano Jazz Session
To close the Piano Jazz Session, Yaron Herman invites a new trio onto the stage for a world premiere of improvisations and creations. It includes three of his outstanding partners: drummer Ziv Ravitz, a loyal stage partner of Yaron Herman and Matt Brewer, the renowned double bassist.
This concert will be broadcast live on the website of the Fondation, medici.tv and Mezzo. It will also be broadcast on delay on Radio Classique during a "Special evening with Yaron Herman".
Yaron Herman was an enthusiastic basketball player from a young age, but an injury led him to turn to music, particularly the piano, which he began playing at 16 years of age. Studying under Opher Brayer, he swiftly established a well-defined technique, qualifying him to give his first concerts in Israel. When he was just 19, he moved to Boston to start school at the prestigious Berklee College of Music but, disappointed by the education he received there, he left the United States and landed in Paris, the city he would ultimately call home.
At 21, Mr Herman recorded his first album, Takes 2 to Know 1, in a duo with drummer Sylvain Ghio. In 2006, he released Variations, his first solo album, a work that reveals a singular pianistic virtuosity demonstrated in original compositions and numerous covers: George Gershwin, Gabriel Fauré, Sting, and even popular Israeli songs. This album saw great success and was followed by a tour, giving the artist the chance to perform at the Forbidden City in Beijing, a first for a jazz pianist.
Two years later, he featured a trio on his CD A Time for Everything, accompanied by double bassist Matt Brewer and drummer Gerald Cleaver, both of whom he met in New York. This album was hailed internationally, recognition earned in part by the trio’s jazz covers of several pop songs, including Britney Spears’ Toxic and Message in a Bottle by British rock group The Police.
The second album by the same trio, Muse, came out in 2009 and was voted “Jazz Album of the Year” on iTunes. Mr Herman also took part in an increasing number of collaborations with artists such as saxophonist Raphaël Imbert, clarinettist Michel Portal and, more recently, drummer Ziv Ravitz, with whom he released the album Everyday in 2015 on the Blue Note label.
In March 2017, Mr Herman explored more distant horizons on his eighth album, Y. For this new adventure, the pianist joined forces with his alter-ego, Ziv Ravitz, and invited bassist Bastien Burger of The Dø to take part. The Franco-Israeli pianist internalises and intertwines all genres and styles that have influenced him, from jazz to post-rock to electro, whether the source is Sufjan Stevens, Steve Reich or Keith Jarrett. Capable of releasing breakneck energy as easily as expressing supremely refined sensitivity, Mr Herman chose to compose his own “songs” for Y – as they are indeed songs, each having its colours and spaces enriched by the voices of his singer and guitarist friends Matthieu Chedid (aka -M-), young French electro-pop producer Dream Koala and bluesman and crooner Hugh Coltman. Between drums recorded on a mobile phone (Jacob), heavenly choirs (Dreamson) and bells (Phoenix), the composer seeks, invents and paints a marvellous musical tableau that attains the dizzying heights of his limitless inspirations.
In 2018, Yaron Herman took part in two projects: first, he formed a trio with talented drummer Ziv Ravitz and bassist Sam Minaie (on a world tour with Melody Gardot); second, he made an album with GECA in Geneva. Following that release, they performed in prestigious venues such as Le Centquatre-Paris and the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg.
The album Song of the Degrees, his ninth, was recorded with Ziv Ravitz and Sam Minaie and was released in February 2019 on the prestigious Blue Note label.
Matt Brewer is one of the world’s premier bassists. He was born April 20, 1983, in Oklahoma City but spent most of his youth in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Born into a musical family, Matt was surrounded by music from an early age, both his father and grandfather being jazz musicians, and his mother an avid music lover and radio DJ (who, before Matt was born, would play classic jazz albums for him). He started playing drums at age 3, learning rudiments on a small practice pad, but didn’t take music seriously until the age of ten, when he found the bass during a summer program at the Interlochen Center for the Arts.
There he began studying classical bass from two world renowned bass instructors, Winston Budrow, and Lawrence Hurst, while learning about jazz from his father. Matt started gigging professionally at the age of twelve around the Albuquerque area and was soon winning awards from the top university jazz festivals, twice winning the festival’s highest award which had never before been given to a middle school student. He continued his study of classical bass with the superb principal bassist of the New Mexico Symphony, Jean-Luc Matton, but soon realized that it would be necessary to be in an overall more creative and art appreciating environment. This led to the decision to attend high school at the Interlochen Arts Academy. Matt continued his study of classical bass, and took jazz performance classes. During his junior and senior years, Matt was selected from applicants across the country, to participate in the Grammy Band. He then performed on the 2000 Grammy Awards telecast in a group that was the first ever to perform on the show without being nominated for a Grammy. After graduating the Interlochen Arts Academy, Matt attended the inagural class of The Juilliard Jazz Program and studied with bassists Rodney Whitaker and Ben Wolfe.
After spending two years at Juilliard he decided to leave school to make time for his busy touring schedule. Since then he has worked with artists such as Greg Osby, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, Lee Konitz, David Sanchez, Terence Blanchard, Aaron Parks, Jeff “Tain” Watts, and many others. He is features on dozens of recordings, including two on the Blue Note record label. “Channel Three” by Greg Osby, and “Avatar” by Gonzalo Rubalcaba. Matt has also led bands in New York, performing at venues such as the Jazz Gallery, Fat Cat, and the Tribeca Performing Arts Center. His band was also featured at the New Mexico international Jazz Festival. He is an adjunct faculty member at The New School, has been a guest artist/teacher at the Banff Center, and has taught lessons and masterclasses across the globe.
Based in Brooklyn, the epicentre of progressive jazz, Ziv Ravitz has been on the rise for the past 12 years, playing with the Lee Konitz Quartet, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Mark Turner, Yaron Herman, Shai Maestro, Omer Avital, Omer Klein, Joe Lovano, Mick Goodrick, Tomasz Stanko, Esperanza Spalding, Ben Monder, Ralph Alessi, trumpeter Avishai Cohen, M (Mathieu Chedid) and many other skilled artists.
Having travelled the pathways of jazz for a decade alongside the best, the drummer is now expressing his talents as a leader. Ravitz has become one of the unifying elements of a particularly diverse music scene, part of the generation of jazz musicians free of geographic and stylistic borders. His musical adventure leads from Israel’s Beersheba to Berlin, Paris to New York; crisscrossing the lands of a liberated jazz, collaborating with his contemporaries to establish the contours of unshackled, multisource musical expression.
His latest recording, No Man Is An Island, challenges boundaries: how to continue to interact within a trio; how to generate a dynamic without double bass or piano, while striking a balance between the skins of the drums, the harmonic contribution of the guitar and the counterpoint of the saxophone.
Ravitz made a name for himself with seemingly naive compositions (“Cinema G”, which has become one of the Shai Maestro Trio’s emblematic pieces) and now creates dreamlike musical material with at times intentionally powerful compositions, as evidenced by the album’s title track, “The Dragon.”
Ravitz’s extraordinary personality is the same both on-stage and off. He gives the term “charisma” a whole new meaning: an aura that literally illuminates both the person and his music.
With years of experience as accompanist, Mr Ravitz, as a leader, could well have a brilliant career in a new genre. He is a perpetual catalyst of energy and talent, revealing the contours of an infinite playground. Recorded with Nir Felder, Gilad Hekselman and Vincent Peirani, he performs on stage with Christophe Panzani on saxophone and Federico Casagrande on guitar. No Man Is An Island: those five words form a philosophy for his generation.