A few years back internationally acclaimed Israeli jazz bassist Avishai Cohen remarked that some of his younger counterparts may be getting in on the recording act a little early. “These days, with technological advances, it is so much easier to make records,” he argued. “But, some might not be ready for that yet, and the album will always be out there as their first.”
Cohen may have had a highly pertinent point there. But if there’s one jazz artist who cannot be accused of delivering his first fruits “too early” it is David Alfandary. The wind instrument player is finally releasing his debut record, Spring, at the not-so-tender age of 56, at the Internal Compass Summer Jazz Festival which takes place at Mitzpe Ramon August 23-26.
Alfandary is also a faculty member at the Internal Compass Music jazz school founded by bass player Ehud Ettun who, incidentally, also plays on Spring along with other teachers at the school – pianist Daniel Schwarzwald and drummer Amir Bar Akiva. The recording lineup is completed by vocalist Eden Dahari and violinist Miri Janietz who contribute to a few of the tracks. Ettun, Schwarzwald, and Alfandary are also on next week’s festival roster, in addition to award-winning saxophonist and clarinet player Anat Cohen, American saxophonist Dan Pettit, and Polish drummer Adam Zagorski and compatriot guitarist Rafal Sarnecki.
It is probably safe to say that Alfandary feels some degree of affinity with the latter, having started out on his musical path on guitar. As is often the case in life in general, serendipity helped pave the way. “I remember going to the Hanoar Haoved [Working and Studying Zionist youth movement] in Rishon Lezion and there were a couple of kids my age – I was 13 at the time – playing guitar,” he recalls. “I was stunned. I thought I want a piece of that. I want to know how to do that – make music, learn about sound. It sounded like magic to me.”
The youngster was clearly driven, as well as gifted, and within a year he was not only playing the instrument he was making a few pennies on the side as a guitar teacher. “And I’ve been teaching ever since,” Alfandary laughs.