Thursday, 21 June 2012

"Time-Out" with Dekel Bor

                           With Dekel Bor

Musician, 32, single, lives in Tel-Aviv and New-York. Performs on thursday (3.5) at "Music And The White City Festival" on the "Bach-Electrified Tour".

Photo by Ilya Melnikov

Where are you from and when did you get to Tel-Aviv?

"I grew up in Kiryat-Ono.
I Arrived in Tel-Aviv two years ago after a year in Denmark and eight years in New-York, where I still spend parts of the year.
I have been living out of a suitcase tis whole time: from one tour to the next, and one day I woke up and felt  that I want to go home."

Where are we catching you?

"On my terrace. On the table are orchestral arrangements by Udi Berner to Chopin's Nocturnes, which we will perform next year."

What makes you happy?
"The feeling that with all the difficulties I wouldn't change a thing."

Where do you drink your coffee and how do you drink it?

"Double espresso without milk or sugar, at "Nehama Vahetzi".
I walk in, and instead of the menu they give me a kiss, instead of asking me what kind of coffee they ask how many cookies with it, I put it on my tab, which is just the amount of old-schoolnes I need"

With which Tel-Avivian would you happy to have a beer with at the local bar?

"Director Rani Bleir."

What's your Tel-Avivian secret?

"Frishman beach, a kilometer west of the wave-breaker.
I discovered open-water swimming when I moved back here, and when I'm off tour I swim every day. In winter too."

What's your "bug"?

Cookies. With almonds, no sugar.
Twice a year I travel to my family in a kibutz in the desert, and my aunt is a god-gifted baker.
In one week I eat her entire stock."

What is the best advice you ever got?

"My dad used to tell me the world belongs to people who make their dreams come true no matter what.
I don't know if he is right, but I'll kill myself finding out."

How do you like to spend your weekends?

"Coffee with friends. a tradition."

Which super-power you wished you had?

"To let go of the ego forever. To play acoustic guitar for few people, to dress-up only for the holidays,
to speak only from my heart."

On what do you like spending your money?

"Matters of the heart - Albums and books.
From a new interpretation of Mahler's 1st to rare, out-of-print Coltrane,
from neo-physics books to russian novels, with a weakness for autobiographies -
from Madeline Albright to Keith Richards.
Music and literature are a window into the human soul, and if you read between the lines you can hear
everything people will never tell you about themselves."

Where do you let go?

"On stage, with maximum catharsis in small clubs of 80-100 people."

Who do you consider the sexiest person in town?

"Animator Nadav Nevo, my partner on a project for "HBO".
He is an impossible and almost absurd mixture of endless sensitivity and the looks of Apollo,
in a sea of wisdom which never ceases to surprises me."

To what are you looking forward the most?

"The concert at the festival this week.
We have toured across the country this march on the "Bach-Electrified Tour" from the Haifa auditorium to first grade school-kids in the south.
We performed for the sophysticated Tel-Aviv audience and to Israeli-Defence Force veterans."

What do you miss?

"The days I toured across the US with my trio in an old, beat-up 70's chevy van.
The music was complicated and the dreams simple."

What would you like to change in yourself?

"I'd like a fast metabolism.
People who eat pizza and chocolate without a care in the world are doing so while pointing a middle finger in my face."

What is your regret?

"That I didn't flew to Paris earlier to tell someone I'm hers forever and that the rest is bullshit.
By the time I woke up it was too late."

What scares you?

"The day my parents die.
I know no matter how high I fly, if I fall there's someone there to catch me,
and I feel that I don't give an ounce of what they have given me in return."

Who is the musician who had the most influence on you?

"My dad. In more ways than I realize.
When I moved to New-York I drowned myself in a sea of classical music,
later realizing it was out of longing for my dad."

Dekel Bor's choices:

1. "A Love Supereme" by John Coltrane
"There is a point of alchemy where music ceases to be notes and emotions and becomes a mirror of life itself."

2. Julie
"A blue-collar restaurant egyptian restaurant in the yemenite market.
Food like my grandma used to make.
Mama Julie gives expert romantic advice, and if I come late enough and the place is empty,
I take out my acoustic, and on a Bach sonata Julie sings in arabic about life.
Without understanding a word I feel everything."

3. "The Master And Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov
"Because my grandfather was russian, and he raised me on an impossible mixture of tragedy, brilliant and blatant humor, simple food and words of love."

4. "Californication"
"The slippery beauty that bridges self-destruction and the feeling that tomorrow will be better.
I guess that is hope."

5. The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
"Back in kindergarden, when I was sick, my dad would take me with him to rehearsals.
I'd create a mess and vocal my opinion on the playing and performance.
Zubin was patient with me. I grew up on the knees of the orchestra members, listening to concerts instead of bedtime stories."

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Bor Plays Bach - radio interview by Kobi Meidan

Please click here to listen

The following hebrew interview was broadcasted live on Galey-Tzahal on the show "Night People" by Kobi Meidan

The Jerusalem Post - A chance to play ‘perfect music’

A chance to play ‘perfect music’

Jazz guitarist Dekel Bor and his trio perform Bach’s ‘Sonatas and Partitas’ – as is.

Photo: Maxim Reider


"I am prepared to die for every note I play, otherwise, I would have never performed it for the public,” says renowned Israeli-born jazz guitarist Dekel Bor, speaking about his new program. Starting from March 1 Bor, together with double bass player Assaf Hachimi and percussionist Rei Mohiach, will perform Bach’s Sonatas and Partitas at four Israelivenues, from Einav in Tel Aviv to Zappa in Jerusalem. Bor’s trio has already appeared with this program at two festivals, in Petah Tikva and Berlin.

“They were all sold out, without any promotion or publicity,” says Bor, looking rather surprised.

Bor, 31, catapulted to an impressive international career when, in his first week at the New School in New York, Reggie Workman – John Coltrane’s former bass player – invited him to join his ensemble. Since then, Bor has appeared with the elite of the international jazz world.

After moving to New York, Bor became a resident artist at such prestigious venues as Smalls, Birdland, The Blue Note and The 55 Bar. In addition, he has collaborated with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as modern dance star David Parsons.

“Many of them were the heroes of my youth,” says Bor. “When I ask myself how I have reached these places, the only thing I can figure out is that I am just in love with the process of music making. I’ve been playing for my entire life, and there is hardly a day when I don’t touch my guitar.”

Bor’s career, which is centered mostly in the US with short jaunts to Europe and Israel, has two facets. “I play jazz standards as a guest artist, and I perform music of my own with my trio. We just rent a van and cruise the country. So one day we appear in front of 2,500 people at a huge festival, and the next day we play for 700 listeners in a small town in Wisconsin.”

But what does Bach have to do with all this? “It all started two years ago when the Collins Guitars company sent me an acoustic guitar as a gift for my 30th birthday,” Bor recounts. “It was an amazing $7,000 instrument with unlimited possibilities. And they wanted me to record something for them, probably a cover for some Beatles piece. Instead, I suggested playing a piece by Bach, and they came up with the idea of recording an entire disk.”

Bor says he was quite shocked: “Are they crazy? Jascha Heifetz and Henryk Szeryng recorded Sonatas and Partitasfor violin solo, and now Dekel Bor? Bach is the ultimate trial for a musician. My producer Robert Sadin, who works with such artists as Sting, also said that this is quite risky. But I didnot say no.”

He was still deliberating when Noam Feingold, the owner of the prestigious Zappa Club, said: “Sure, I want you to play an entire Bach evening.” And he suggested a few dates.

“I agreed because I really wanted to play Bach for two reasons. First, Bach as a composer crashed all conventions that were accepted in the music of his time, especially regarding rhythm, and rhythm is the most important thing about jazz. This is what attracted me.

Second, Bach is seen by many as a religious composer, which is not true. Only a small fraction of his output was written to be performed in a church. The only explanation I see is that his music is perfect, and we perceive perfection as something godly. Now tell me, how many opportunities do I have as a musician to perform perfect music?” Bach is not strange for Bor. Just the opposite. Born into the family of Alon Bor, the head of the percussion section of the Israel Philharmonic, Bor grew up on this music. “There wasn’t a day when my father didn’t play it.

Later, I got a book of well-used notes from him, with his own remarks within the music text. But I was in my teens then, and my natural reaction was just to put aside what my parent suggested.”

Dekel Bor returned to this notebook later, after relocating to New York. “I started reading melodies and playing them for myself,” he says.

But again, there is a big difference between playing musicwritten for a violin solo 300 years ago in your bedroom and going out with it to a public that has gotten used to 3,000- watt sound.

“I didn’t have to make any effort to internalize this music because it has always been a part of me. To express how I feel about Bach, my fingers have found their way to the strings by themselves. But to prepare it is a lot of work – so I went to the desert for two weeks to learn it by heart.”

Bor explains that he did not make any musical arrangements – he plays Bach’s pieces as they were composed.

“I never come out of Bach, and I never stop to improvise,controversial as it may sound. I believe that my mission as an artist is to listen to myself and to go with this to the end.”

Dekel Bor performs on March 1 at the Einav Center in TelAviv. On March 10 at Tarbuta in Yokneam. On March 28 at Zappa in Jerusalem. And on March 29 at Rappaport Hall in Haifa. All concerts begin at 8:30 p.m.

The Jerusalem Post - Music in context

Music in context

While jazz guitarist Dekel Bor has taken a big bite out of the Big Apple, he is fine-tuning his taste level here at home

Dekel Bor says he is getting there. The “there” of the 32-year-old jazz guitarist’s ethos is gaining the maturity and self-awareness to do his own thing on the stage and in the recording studio without the crutch of the masters of the genre’s yesteryear.

“I am at the age when you change from being a young person to a man,” says Bor, who will perform at the Enav Center in Tel Aviv on Wednesday (8:30 p.m.) with Ronen Itzikon drums and Assaf Hakimi on bass and rock singer Maor Cohen filling a guest slot. “We are educated [in the jazz world] to look upon someone like [iconic saxophonist John] Coltrane as some kind of deity instead of as a human being. The absurd thing is that I have played with so many people who performed with him – like [septuagenarian bassist] Reggie Workman and [late drummer] Elvin Jones – and they all talk about him as a human being. But I am finally trying to find my own context, my own domain for expressing myself.”

Bor has come a long way in terms of his art and personal development.

He grew up in Kiryat Ono and imbibed a heady diet ofclassical music, largely due to the fact that his father is aclassical percussionist.

As a teenager, Bor developed an interest in rock climbing, and it was the outdoor pursuit that led indirectly to where he is today. “We climbed up a rock face near Qumran [near the Dead Sea] and camped out and some guy had a guitar and played Dylan’s ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.’ Until then I had heard very little other than classical music, but that simple guitar playing really threw me. I went home and told my parents I wanted a guitar.”

The instrument was duly procured, and the rest is history.

He soon asked to transfer to the Thelma Yellin Art School in Givatayim, which has a strong jazz department, and he embarked on his current artistic quest. At the age of 21 he moved to the US to attend the New School of Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York, where his teachers included the likes of Workman and stellar saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom. During his three-year course, Bor took the opportunity to gain as much street-level experience as possible, and he is now a regular at such notable New York venues as Smalls and the 55 Bar in Greenwich Village.

“I’ve played at so many places in New York, although I haven’t appeared at the [76-year-old jazz club] Village Vanguard yet. I hope that happens soon.”

To date, Bor has released a couple of jazz CDs – (The Long Way) Home with French bassist Francois Moutin and Israeli drummer Nadav Snir which came out in 2007, and Emuna (2005), with Moutin and Snir, with Odaya Nini adding vocals on one track.

But the guitarist is keen to explore new vistas and has opted for a surprising avenue of discovery which, in a way, represents something of a musical homecoming. “I am working on a Bach composition with a trio,” he says, adding that he has taken on quite a challenge. “It is not a problem to play the piece in technical terms, but artistically it is incredibly difficult. I approach this project with utter humility, which is very different from the way I’d go about playing jazz pieces when I was younger. When you’re young, you feel you can do anything and that the world is there just waiting for you to conquer it.”

Bor says he has battled hard to rid himself of some of the negative society-induced baggage to enable him to make strides with his art. “I come from a generation that was taught to be a consumer and to make more money so that you can buy more stuff that you really don’t need.”

He says he has been helped along the way by a decision to spend more of his time in Israel.

“It has been really good for me to get out of New York. There are some fantastic musicians there, but there is a clear New York sound that comes straight from the [1960s] second quintet of Miles [Davis], and everyone around is trying to be the fastest and most complicated player. I played with about five or six bands, with really top musicians, people I always dreamt of playing with, but I felt something was missing. Everything started sounding the same. I felt I needed a change and to get away from their context and find my own context. When you’re in New York, there’s this pressure to fit in [with the jazz scene]. I have more freedom here.”

Dekel Bor will perform at the Enav Center in Tel Aviv on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. For tickets and more information: (03) 521-7766. For more information about Dekel Bor:

MyNet - Dekel Bor dreams of collaborating with Robert Plant

Dekel Bor dreams of collaborating with Robert Plant

International jazz artist, Dekel Bor, is currently in the midst of an israeli tour where he performs a selection of Bach works, in a synthesis of jazz and wild rock'n'roll. In between, he found a "moment to answer our questions and coming out a "10"
Published: 07/03/12

Which song do you sing in the shower?

"I usually shower with my music in full blast.
Mornings are usually electric Neil Young or early  Stones ("You get what you need"!), Miles and Coltrane in the evening."

 I'd sell a kidney to go to a performance by ...
(Alive or dead)
"Karajan conducting the Berlin Philharmonic in German Requiem. And Bon Iver.
 Both cases will find me in the Front row, singing every word, excited like a little boy."

"A man should be a man" Dekel Bor, by Oren Itamar

Life on the road's biggest fiasco was ...
"Touring left of nowhere in mid-west americana, we stopped to eat at a diner after a show. Once we were back on the highway - I realized I left something back at the diner's table ... Luckily she was waiting for me when I returned."

Your desert island pick would be:
(book + movie + album):
"The Bible, "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" and "A Love Supreme" by John Coltrane."

As a child I was...
"Fat. Don't ask."

Three of my biggest addictions, from top to bottom:
"Playing the guitar, Storm-swimming, Espresso and cookies."

The woman and man you find the most sexy are?
"Patricia Arquette in the first ten minutes of "True Romance" always make me want to fall in love.
And Bruce Springsteen.
Because both my father and my grandfather taught me that a man should be a man."

What can ruin your day?
"Coming out of the sea after a long and frezing hour in Decmeber, and meet an old Russian in his speedo, soaking wet, reading a newspaper.
I asked him for his secret, to which he replied: "In Russia we used to swim in ice and drink turpentine. This is nothing."

What can improve your day?
"iPhone chat with my niece. She discovered chatting and since then has been my friends' a best friend."

Your biggest dream?
"Robert Plant singing a few of my own poems on one of my albums.
After that I can retire to India and open a linen boutique.."

Dekel Bor will be playing "Bach Electrified" in Israel on :
Tel-Aviv, Enav Cultural Hall, 1/3/12
Yokne'am, Tarbuta, 10/3/12
Jerusalem, Zappa, 28/3/12
Haifa, Rappaport Auditorium, 29/3/12
Tel-Aviv, Hangar 11, 3/5/12

Time-Out - Dekel Bor's playlist

Dekel Bor
His playlist

1. John Coltrane - Transition
Coltrane's historic quartet at it's peak,
a moment before Coltrane abandons song-structure and harmony.

2. Miles Davis - Live in Europe 1967
Until recently there were no official live releases of the quintet post-1965.
I have been waiting for this incredible 3-disc box for years.

3. Bon Iver - Bon Iver
After a touching, intimate debut Justin Vernon returns with is incredible lyrics, this time with a full band.

4. Maurizio Pollini - Chopin Nocturnes
Just when I thought I have enough interpertations of the Nocturnes, comes along this italian,
who became famous in the 80's as an avant-garde modernist, praying deep into these melodies.

5. The Rolling Stones - Sticky Fingers
Keith with his 5-string, Mick is larger than life, Charlie's incredible time-feel, and "Wild Horses".

Dekel Bor will be playing "Bach Electrified" with his trio featuring Rea Mochiach and Asaf Hakimi this thursday, 1.3.12, 20:30 at Enav Cultural Center

Culture Magazine - Dreams were meant to come true

International Aroma:
Dreams were meant to come true

Jazzman Dekel Bor, who has performed with the biggest names in the international scene, comes to Israel on tour with fresh interpretations of the works of Bach,
sharing the best advice he ever got...

> Dekel Bor (32) is not yet a house-hold name for Israeli audiences.
Bor is a jazz artist working with some of the american jazz world's biggest legends:
Johnny Griffin, Reggie Workman, Pat Martino and Billy Hart among many many others.
So far Bor has released two albums, "Emuna" and "Home", released in the US under the baton of producer Robert Sadin (who earned Grammy-awards for his work with Sting, Joni Mitchel, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter).
Bor is also very active as a guitarist endorsing the biggest guitar and amplifier brands. To celebrate this tour "Collings Guitars" has made a special guitar bearing Bor's name.
"I have never prepared and practiced so much towards a concert tour, as I have for this one" says Bor.
"Besides, I'm very excited to perform in Israel again".

What awaits our local audience who comes to hear you?

"I will perform, along with my trio, a very personal interpretations of my favorite Bach works: the Piano Preludes, the famous Goldberg Variations and the immortal Violin Sonatas.
To my ears it sounds like the bastard-son of John Coltrane, Thom Yorke and the sum of all my heartbreaks.
A woman who came to our press-release show said she the music  felt to her like diving into a pool of sounds, in which one loses one's sense of time and place,"

How did you come to "manipulate" the music of Johann Sebastian Bach?

"My father, Alon Bor is the principle percussionist for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and last year's recipient of the Cultural Ministry's lifetime achievement award.
My earliest memories are of my father playing Bach on his marimba, and I remember that even as a child I could feel that this music was different, special."

After Bach, is there another classical or modern composer you will be working on?

"For years I have been working on some of the piano preludes by Shotokovich, and a week ago I bought myself the sheet music for Chopin's Nocturnes as a gift.
If and when I'll get to actually adapting them to the trio - I can't say.
Right now I'm madly in love with Bach, so I can't think of anything else."

From your tours and travels all over the world, can you tell of one experience you find significant?

"It's definitely  hard to pick just one out of ten years of touring.
Two experiences I feel worth mentioning are both concerts.
The first occurred during a university tour in midwestern US - during the concert I noticed from the stage a large and visible group listening carefully.
The promoter threw us a party after the show during which I got to meet them, learning it was a group of palestinians and pro-palestinians, who told me that only in middle-america they can come hear a concert by an israeli artist on neutral ground, and really hear the music itself - without the political pressure.
The second happened right in my musical backyard - at the NYC jazz club smalls, where I used to play a weekly gig.
One night right in front of me sat jazz legend (and my mentor) Jim Hall, Russell Malone and Adam Rogers, who ended up joining us onstage.
I felt like I'm singing in front of the Beatles."

After a night like this, do you even have musical fantasies left?

"Of course! the ultimate tour would start by joining Coltrane at the Vanguard, on with Miles Davis at the Plugged Nickel, sitting in with Zeppelin at the Garden, with Karajan in Berlin as my desert..."

After we had our fun, what is the best advice you ever got from the musical legends you meet?

"My parents keep reminding me, that dreams were meant to come true."

For more information about Dekel Bor and his Bach-Electrified Tour visit