Call On The Old Wise Nitai Hershkovits

Cover Call On The Old Wise

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  • 1The Old Wise02:48
  • 2Enough To Say I Will03:14
  • 3Mode Antigona02:16
  • 4Of Trust and Remorse02:47
  • 5Intermezzo No.302:25
  • 6Majestic Steps Glow Far04:13
  • 7Dream Your Dreams04:00
  • 8Placid In Africansque03:52
  • 9Mode Brilliante01:14
  • 10Single Petal Of A Rose03:29
  • 11A Rooftop Minuet03:48
  • 12Late Blossom03:28
  • 13Intermezzo No.401:46
  • 14In Satin01:26
  • 15This You Mean To Me02:56
  • 16Of Mentorship01:52
  • 17For Suzan01:49
  • 18River Wash Me02:49
  • Total Runtime50:12

Info for Call On The Old Wise

Call on the Old Wise is Nitai Hershkovits’ first record for ECM, presenting his powerful pianistic ingenuity in a largely improvised solo setting. Nitai’s improvisations unfold like compositions being created in real-time: “It’s like I’m playing with several periods of music at once, but in a sort of augmented-reality-environment,” states Nitai. “To me the album is like a journey taking you through multiple varying experiences in the blink of an eye. Like jumping through frames holding different pictures or looking through windows to different worlds.” Call on the Old Wise follows Isabela and Here Be Dragons, where Nitai has been heard as a member of Oded Tzur’s quartet.

The album is partially dedicated to Nitai’s former piano teacher Suzan Cohen, with whom he studied in Jerusalem and who according to Nitai is the mentor to whom the term ‘wise’ in the record’s title alludes. The pieces “The Old Wise”, “Of Mentorship” and “For Suzan” refer directly to her. But Nitai draws from wide-reaching influences, ranging from his work in jazz contexts and cutting-edge contemporary explorations to his background in classical music. This immaculate balance of idioms gives rise to an abundance of colours and timbres, explored by a pianist, who has successfully forged his very own voice as improviser and shape-designer.

In his approach to improvisation, he notes, shapes and textures set the direction for the development of material: “I don’t want to be confined to any specific key or time signature, but rather leave the freedom to continually re-evaluate things in real-time and see them from a new perspective over and over again. That’s also why I tried to go into the session with as few preconceived ideas as possible.” In light of this spontaneous sense of creation, it is striking how completely formed many of the miniaturesque designs on the album unfurl. Nitai mentions inspirations as seemingly disparate as Chick Corea and Russian composers Rachmaninoff and Scriabin guiding him in the process.

Recorded at the Auditorio Stelio Molo in Lugano in 2022, the specific acoustic properties of the studio too play into the fabric of Nitai’s musical developments, as did his exchanges with producer Manfred Eicher. Nitai: “In the studio very few words are spoken. With Manfred, it’s like there’s another musician in the room, reflecting, reacting and reshaping the music in the moment.” Call on the Old Wise is a testimony to Nitai Hershkovits’s unique inventiveness as well as an essential addition to ECM’s celebrated line of solo piano recordings.

Nitai Hershkovits, piano

Nitai Hershkovits
Pianist and composer Nitai Hershkovits has been described as a ‘Genuine prodigy’ by BBC music. He is a charismatic performer with an incredibly strong voice and musical vision. His dynamic playing crosses boundaries and genres thanks to a light, elegant touch that conveys a full spectrum of deep emotions and contrasts. ‘Reminiscent of a silky-toned old piano swinger such as the late Hank Jones’ (The Guardian), intertwining bliss and melancholy with skillful freedom. As a solo artist, Nitai Hershkovits’ repertoire consists mainly of original work written for piano, giving space for interpretation.

Born to a Morrocan mother and a Polish father, Nitai started playing the clarinet at the age of twelve, only to discover his love for the piano at age fifteen. Around that time, he was first exposed to the sound of jazz giants such as Wynton Kelly and Sonny Clark.

By the age of seventeen, Nitai had moved to Tel Aviv to combine regular school with private music and piano lessons under the guidance of jazz educators Amit Golan and Yuval Cohen. He soon became interested in a rich variety of both classical and jazz music.

Nitai studied classical music and theory for two years with well-known Israeli composer and educator Dr. Menahem Weisenberg and classical music educators Shoshana Cohen and Amir Pedorovits. Nitai was awarded the highest scholarship given by the Israel-American Music Foundation (AICF) four years in a row between 2004 and 2010. Another highlight was his onetime prestigious Chase Scholarship award in 2009 sponsoring a B.A. degree at the Jerusalem Rubin Academy of Music.

Nitai has the privilege of touring all over the world and performing at many different venues: Village Vanguard, Salle Pleyel, Vienna Konzerthaus, l’Olympia, Alter Oper, North Sea Jazz Festival, Antibes Jazz Festival, Jazz à Vienne, Montreux Jazz Festival, Barbican Center and Tonhalle, to name a few.

In 2011, Nitai joined bassist Avishai Cohen’s group (known for his long time collaboration with Chick Corea as well as for his successful band leading career). As part of Cohen’s Trio as well as of other symphonic projects, they recorded three albums together: A Duet - Duende (EMI/Blue Note, 2012), A chamber music project Almah (EMI/Parlaphone, 2014) and a Trio album -From Darkness (Razdaz Records, 2015). ​

In 2016 Nitai had relocated to New York City and is keeping a busy schedule, touring and recording with notable artists such as: Malmo Symphonic Orchestra,Stuttgarter Kammerorchester, Robert Sadin, Theo Bleckmann, Matt Penman, Mark Turner, Marcus Gilmore, Kendrick Scott, Doug Weiss, Joel Frahm, Ben Monder, Jorge Rossy, Gilad Hekselman, Mndsgn (Ringgo) among many others.He is a regular member in Oded Tzur and Ari Hoenig’s groups.

Nitai's debut album I Asked You A Question (Raw Tapes Records) was released in February 2016. The album, co-produced by Rejoicer, featuring Nitai on vocals, Piano and synths. LA based singer Georgia Anne Muldrow and guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel joins Nitai on two of the tracks ("Satellite Dish" and "My Turn" respectively). Exploring the realm of analog electronics, samples and beats, I Asked You A Question is an eclectic, empirical yet genuine attempt of blending improvised ideas and through-composed music.

Nitai's most anticipated album New Place Always (Enja/Yellowbird) will include short songs written especially for solo piano and is due to release in September 28, 2018.

Booklet for Call On The Old Wise

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