Yoni Kretzmer is one of Israel’s leading young jazz composers and saxophonists. After studying at the American School of Modern Music in Paris Yoni broke into the jazz scene in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. For two years he was the saxophonist and composer with the Rats Quartet, which appeared at leading clubs and festivals in Israel. The Quartet’s CD Afternoon High received glowing reviews.
In 2007 Yoni founded the avant-garde jazz quintet, New Dilemma, which is comprised of cello, viola, double-bass, drums and tenor saxophone. Yoni’s music, composed uniquely for the quintet, blends modern classical music with free improv and free jazz. Yoni’s aim in composing the music and leading the quintet was to create a synthesis between the written and improvised note and to blur the gap between them. By combining cello and viola, instruments that are characteristic of classical music, and the jazz-oriented drums, double-bass and saxophone, Yoni strives to create a novel chamber sound.
New Dilemma’s first concert at Jerusalem’s Khan Theater in April 2007 was receive
d with acclaim by critics. Leading jazz critic Barak Weiss wrote that “Kretzmer’s composition is excellent, restrained and exact; his playing and control of the instrument are superb”. Concerts that followed enjoyed similar praise by audiences and critics.
New Dilemma’s first CD, released in February 2009, by Earsay Records, Israel’s leading jazz label, received rave reviews. Ben Shalev, the music critic of Israel’s leading daily, Ha`aretz, rated it as one five most marvelous albums of 2009 in all genres, and as the most interesting jazz album to be released in Israel in the last few years.
New Dilemma quintet appeared in the 2010 international Tel Aviv jazz festival. Barry Davis, the jazz reporter for Israel’s English daily, Jerusalem Post, wrote that its performance was the highlight of the festival.
Yoni also leads a New York-based trio with drummer Mike Pride and bassist Jason Ajemian. The trio’s first CD, recorded in New York in November 2009, is to be released on the Hopscotch jazz label in June 2010.
Yoni`s Most resent group is a free-folk band named “Far From Home” which aims to play English and American guitar folk in a free-improvisation output. The Group consists of Yoni`s tenor plus two acoustic guitars, double bass and drum
Alongside his work with the New Dilemma and Far From Home Yoni leads a free jazz quartet (CD should be out during 2010) and septet dedicated to the music of Albert Ayler. He is a member of a drum-viola-saxophone trio which has released a CD for the Kadima Collective label, and co-leads the IGU4 quartet with acclaimed clarinetist Harold Rubin. Yoni plays regularly in the groups of Avshalom Ben-Shlomo, Daniel Sarid, and Albert Beger, with Steve Peskoff’s ‘Radical Shlomo’ and in Assif Tsahar’s collective. He has also played with visiting artists: Evan Parker, Steve Noble Christer Irgens Moller, and Günter ‘Baby’ Sommer, participating in Sommer’s CD ’Live in Jerusalem’.
Yoni Currently Lives in Brooklyn NY. Since moving to town Yoni Has put together two groups (see groups section for more info)
‘With sensitivity and confidence Kretzmer succeeded in conveying his complex emotional world, which includes sadness, humor, anxiety, melancholy and joy of life. It’s a long time since I experienced such a sincere and impressive performance in the musician’s willingness to expose to the audience the intensity of his most intimate emotions.’
Barak Weiss 15/4/07 (nana.co.il)
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