The jazz way of life

The journey is the music The Ehud Ettun jazz trio  

For most jazz musicians, the genre is a fluid, organic and highly improvised way of making music and connections. But for Israeli jazz band the Ehud Ettun Trio, jazz is a way of life.

The trio, comprising frontman and double bass player Ehud Ettun himself, pianist Daniel Schwarzwald and drummer Nathan Blankett, were in the city recently for a concert at Indigo Live Music Bar.

On what they like to call jazz, Nathan one-lines it as any form of improvised music. However, Ehud explains that to him, it is a philosophy. “It is a set of values. When the three of us get on stage together, we don’t really know what it’s going to be like. We have to listen to each other and play as one. These skills, which are like values, are what I call jazz.”

Nathan adds: “We bring everything to the table. From our journey and personal experiences to how the country and the people are around us as well as our influences – we tune ourselves to where we are.”

Thoroughly excited to be in the country for the first time, they chorus that there is no place like India. “It’s a dream come true for all of us. We’ve fallen in love with the music of this land and would love to explore it more,” point out Nathan and Daniel.

Ehud adds: “Especially in music, the Indian influence is different from the influences of other cultures. It’s very deep and yet, very silent. Musicians across the world are always influenced by a deep sense of Indian influence. It is never shallow. That’s what makes this country so special.”

While Nathan lives in New York, Daniel resides in Berlin and Ehud is in Jerusalem, the trio have been spending the last couple of months in a studio in Jerusalem. “We’ve been working on new music. So it’s exciting to take our new material all over the world, and especially bring it to India.”

Their recently-released debut album Raw Gestures is an extraordinary work of art in the jazz circuit. Elaborating on it, Daniel says it was the aftermath of a live concert in Bulgaria in the summer of 2013. “We got into the studio to document that moment. We were deeply influenced by Bulgarian music and we were working together after a long time. Hence it’s raw and full of energy.”

On what they would like people to take away from their music, Ehud sits back and narrates the example of American jazz pianist Keith Jarrett. “If people take photos during his concert, Keith stops playing immediately. When asked why in an interview, he says because that moment of the concert is something you can’t take home. You can take home a picture but not that moment in the concert. I feel very similar about our music. If I could give people something to take away from the concert, it’s the moment that it happened, that feeling in the room and the memory of that moment.”

Recalling their journey, Daniel says they all grew up in Jerusalem. “We started playing jazz in our teens. We met one another at concerts and decided to connect. It just happened organically.”

Nathan adds: “Life brought us on different paths and somehow steered us to come together.” Looking ahead, Ehud says they will continue in their creative endeavour in the future.

“We will stay creative, record music and continue to perform. And we will continue to use the idea of improvised music, curiosity and diversity to make the world a better place. That is why I started Internal Compass, a record label that is also a collection of musicians across the world. We hope to do something social through our curiosity. The world has become more challenging in accepting diversity. Music needs to be the tool that connects people when everything else fails.”

To aspiring and upcoming jazz musicians, they say, “Come play with us” and laugh. Ehud sums up: “Our music comes from a lot of curiosity. It’s the result of many influences we pick up along the way. We’re curious about other music, the people around us, and are constantly exploring new dimensions. So if I can somehow give something to someone, it’s that state of mind.”

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Printable version | Jun 24, 2021 4:01:40 AM |

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