Call on the old wise

Nitai Hershkovits

EN / DE
With Call on the old Wise Nitai Hershkovits delivers an entrancing solo album. In this largely improvised solo rendering, the pianist draws from broad influences, ranging from his extensive 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. With a soft touch, light action and washing harmonies, Nitai’s improvisations unfold like compositions being created in real-time, making Call on the Old Wise a testimony to the pianist’s unique inventiveness as well as an essential addition to ECM’s celebrated line of solo piano recordings. The album, recorded in Lugano in 2022 and produced by Manfred Eicher, follows after his contributions in Oded Tzur’s quartet on the acclaimed recordings Here Be Dragons (2020) and Isabela (2022).
 
Mit Call on the old Wise legt der israelische Pianist Nitai Hershkovits sein bemerkenswertes Solo-Debüt für ECM vor. In diesem größtenteils improvisierten Programm schöpft der israelische Pianist aus einem breiten Spektrum von Einflüssen, die von seiner umfangreichen Arbeit in Jazzkontexten und experimentellen zeitgenössischen Erkundungen bis zur klassischen Musik reichen. Sein feinfühliger Umgang mit diesen verschiedensten Idiomen ergibt eine einzigartige Spannweite an Klangfarben, die belegen, dass der Pianist längst eine gänzlich eigenständige Stimme als Improvisator und Formgestalter entwickelt hat. Sanften Anschlags, mit leichtfüßig-verspielten Bewegungen über die Tasten und versonnenen Harmonien entfalten sich Nitais Improvisationen wie Kompositionen, die in Echtzeit entstehen. Call on the Old Wise ist ein Zeugnis des einzigartigen Erfindungsreichtums Nitais und eine unverzichtbare Ergänzung der profilierten Serie von Solo-Klavier-Aufnahmen auf ECM. Das Album, 2022 in Lugano aufgenommen und von Manfred Eicher produziert, folgt auf Nitais Beiträge als Teil von Oded Tzurs Quartett auf Here Be Dragons (2020) und Isabela (2022).
Featured Artists Recorded

June 2022, Auditorio Stelio Molo RSI, Lugano

  • 1The Old Wise
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    02:48
  • 2Enough To Say I Will
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    03:14
  • 3Mode Antigona
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    02:16
  • 4Of Trust And Remorse
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    02:47
  • 5Intermezzo No. 3
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    02:25
  • 6Majestic Steps Glow Far
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    04:13
  • 7Dream Your Dreams
    (Molly Drake)
    04:00
  • 8Placid In Africansque
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    03:52
  • 9Mode Brilliante
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    01:14
  • 10Single Petal Of A Rose
    (Duke Ellington)
    03:29
  • 11A Rooftop Minuet
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    03:48
  • 12Late Blossom
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    03:28
  • 13Intermezzo No. 4
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    01:46
  • 14In Satin
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    01:26
  • 15This You Mean To Me
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    02:56
  • 16Of Mentorship
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    01:52
  • 17For Suzan
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    01:49
  • 18River Wash Me
    (Nitai Hershkovits)
    02:49
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.
 
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Born to a Moroccan mother and a Polish father, Nitai originally started out his musical path on clarinet before switching to the piano at age 15. Jazz and improvised music were the focal point of his musical investigations throughout his teens, with a particularly strong interest for the idiosyncrasies of Sonny Rollins. In this period, Nitai won several jazz competitions in the Tel Aviv area, before his deepened interest in classical music took shape, leading to studies in both jazz – with Omer vital and bassist Avishai Cohen i.a. – and classical piano, with Menahem Weisenberg and Amir Pedorovits. After a five year-spell in Avishai Cohen’s trio (2011-2016), Nitai moved to New York, where he played in numerous groups, among them Oded Tzur’s quartet, of which he continues to be part today. He has recently moved back to Israel, where he is involved with a variety of musical projects, including collaborations with electronic musician Yuvi Havkin aka Rejoicer and drummer Amir Bresler, who can be heard on their joint venture Apifera.
YEAR DATE VENUE LOCATION
2024 April 04 Bimhuis Amsterdam, Netherlands
2024 April 05 Salle de spectacle Plissonnier Primarette, France
2024 May 09 ECM Festival hist. Kaufhaus Freiburg, Germany
2024 October 10 Beethovenhaus Bonn, Germany
2024 October 14 Stadthaus Ulm, Germany
2024 October 16 CC Het Spoor Harelbeke, Belgium
2024 October 17 30CC Leuven, Belgium