Jazz is one of the most difficult musical genres to classify. Some try based on era, others with the instruments used, and yet more even try to generalize it through form. Whatever the case, indeed, for the connoisseur, certain records are better than others. Moreover, often is the case that many of the “rarest” albums (ex. those that had the smallest numbers pressed) are so incredibly good that it’s hard to understand why more were not made compared to 1000s of the pop dribble LPs that often litters jazz sections in record shops around the globe. One of the absolute rarest jazz records in existence happens to fall under that umbrella – The Jazz Workshop’s 1973 release, “Mezare Israel Yekabtzenu”.
A very apt description of the album and its history is found on testpressing.org:
Released in 1973, the “Mezare Israel Yekabtzenu” was the first instrumental Jazz album ever recorded in Israel. The Workshop was led by Albert Piamenta, a saxophonist, clarinetist, composer, and arranger from a musical Jewish Moroccan family. Piamenta had gained notoriety and success in the 1960s by blending imported Funk, Soul and Jazz with Israeli and Middle Eastern compositions. On this particular project he adapted Arab maquams, Druze rhythms and Jewish Hasidic song, with aim of freeing Israel`s musicians from the accepted American standards. The set was recorded in one day at Koliner Studios in Tel Aviv with a quartet consisting of Piamenta, Dan Gottfried (Piano; among other accomplishments founder of the Red Sea Jazz Festival), Jerry Garbel (Drums; a student of Max Roach who had performed with Sun Ra) and Teddy Kling (Double bass; Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra). Reissued by Tel Aviv based label Fortuna, who are committed to sharing rare and forgotten pieces of homegrown Psychedelia, it is a syncopated spiritual Soul balm, that after 48 hours awake in Tokyo feels like morning`s song. Duke Ellington, Sonny Rollins, Dudley Moore, Jazz Kissaden and the romance of a lost late night Soho. Modal Swing and Hard Bop flights.
Listen to a sample here:
You can order a copy of the reissue (originals go for $1000+) from Fortuna Records directly: