Tempe Producer Features World-Renowned Pianist April 16 for Jazz Appreciation Month
He wasn’t particularly impressed the first time he heard a piano. Of course, he was an old out-of-tune spruce from his school in Israel and Tamir Hendelman wasn’t quite 6 years old.
“It wasn’t a very exciting thing for me,” Hendelman said.
This changed almost by chance.
“One of my earliest memories was walking down a street in Tel Aviv and passing a music store,” Hendelman said. “The store clerk was playing a medley of songs on an electric organ. It sounded like an orchestra or a big band to me. I asked my mother to give me one of these instruments.
For Hendelman, now among jazz’s top musicians, the piano became his ticket to tour the world – from Israel to Los Angeles, from Japan to New York, and on April 16 at the new Ravenscroft Hall in Scottsdale for a Jazz from 7:30 p.m. Appreciation Month Concert, presented by Tempe-based Lakeshore Music.
Mentored by the best in the business
Hendelman played for years with a long list of big names, including Barbara Streisand, Diana Krall, Gladys Knight, Natalie Cole and the Jeff Hamilton Trio, before forming his own trio and performing his jazz compositions, as well as the music from Brazil, its Israeli roots. , blues and The Great American Songbook.
His Lakeshore Music audience will get a taste of it all on his set list, says Hendelman.
“Tamir is one of the greatest jazz pianists on the international stage today,” said longtime Tempe civic leader Woody Wilson, who is founder, president and executive director of Lakeshore Music. “For me, the essence and elegance of jazz is the piano trio, and no one does it better than Tamir Hendelman.”
After beginning his keyboard studies at the age of 6 in Tel Aviv, Hendelman moved to the United States at the age of 12 and won Yamaha’s national keyboard competition two years later with a composition original. Concerts in Japan and at the Kennedy Center followed.
He then studied at the Tanglewood Institute in 1988 at the age of 16 and graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Classical Composition from the Eastman School of Music in 1993. He became the youngest music director of the Lovewell Institute, a national organization arts education nonprofit.
More recently, Hendelman joined Graham Dechter on guitar, Jeff Hamilton on drums and John Clayton on bass on the album. major influencereleased in fall 2021.
Tales from home and jazz among his inspirations
Audiences around the world enjoy Hendelman’s rhythmic and lyrical music, as he fuses jazz, world and classical influences into thrilling and heartfelt creativity. Classically trained and practicing almost all genres, it’s jazz that really attracts him, he says.
“It’s the immediacy, the sense of surprise, the collective of the group, being able to feed off each other,” Hendelman said. “It’s being able to take songs that have been made for decades and decades and invent something new with them.”
Two of his original tunes, in particular, have resonated with Hendelman since his youth.
“My grandmother loved to sing in the house and she sang old Jewish melodies and jazz standards,” he said. “I remember seeing American musicals on TV when we got together for a nice family meal at her house on Friday nights, Sing in the rainor my lovely lady. She used to collect trinkets and souvenirs from her travels. From a trip to Europe, there would be a plate she bought there. Always something. She even had babushkas.
“So I was in Alaska, in a little village, and they had these little babushkas. another name for ‘grandmother’, so I wrote her a song called ‘Babushka’. We’re going to play that.
Before he and his wife were married, Hendelman took her to Israel.
“I wanted her to get an idea of the northern area, the more pastoral area, with its little kibbutzim, its little villages,” he said. “We hiked and got lost. We made it through the moon howling coyotes and found a way back to the village. Everything was closed at the time and we needed a little help. I knocked on a stranger’s door, and they ended up inviting us to join their holiday dinner and spend the night. So I wrote a little song about the graceful spirit and open-mindedness of northern people, “Israeli Waltz”. We will play that too.
Hendelman’s trio includes bassist Alex Frank and drummer Dean Koba.
“We are very excited to come to the new venue (Ravenscroft Hall),” Hendelman said. “We hear a lot about it from Tierney (Sutton, who performed Lakeshore Music’s February gig) and other people who have been there.”
Tickets are $60 (all seats reserved) and are available at theravenscroft.com.
Lakeshore’s 2021-22 season wraps up May 21 with the presentation of five-time Grammy winner Billy Childs and his jazz quartet at Ravenscroft Hall.