The Tel Aviv-N.Y. Pipeline for Jazz


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One of the surprising developments in the New York jazz scene in the last 15 years has been the influx of Israeli players who have brought with them a sophisticated Middle Eastern rhythmic and melodic sensibility. From former Chick Corea bassist Avishai Cohen to saxophonist-clarinetist Anat Cohen (no relation) to pianist Omer Klein, the musicians have created an informal pipeline from Tel Aviv to Greenwich Village and can be found on the bandstands of many of the city’s top clubs.

Now, that pipeline will become more formal with the announcement that The New School here is partnering with the Center for Jazz Studies at the Israel Conservatory of Music in Tel Aviv.

The new arrangement, which begins in the fall, will allow 20 Israeli students a year to get a bachelor’s degree here after finishing two years at the ICM. The New School has been a boon for Israelis: it takes about eight Israelis a year, 10 percent of its graduating class.

The bassist Cohen, who was on hand at last week’s announcement in Tel Aviv, is a New School graduate. But he’s back living in Israel and teaching at the ICM, and he said he wished he’d had the New School-ICM opportunity himself.

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