From Jerusalem to Buenos Aires
Jazz meets Pop and Rock: Irit Dekel & Eldad Zitrin played “Last of Songs” at the Berlin Columbia Theater
“Last of Songs” is what Irit Dekel and Eldad Zitrin call their project: A reinvention of hits from the American Songbook. But is it really possible to still find additional facets in Harold Arlen’s composition „Blues in the Night“ of which there are more than 300 cover versions? This is exactly what Singer Dekel and multi-instrumentalist Zitrin are doing.
The two Israelis are sitting very close to each other on the piano bench and lovingly reveal the song’s fragile essence. This is one of the quiet, moving moments of their concert during which the Columbia Theater’s stage looks like a deserted café, shortly before the lights go out.
Using this kind of intimate interplay, Dekel and Zitrin started five years ago in Tel Aviv to literally deconstruct various standard jazz pieces. In order to then go against their orchestral grain. This way, Arlen‘s Song “Get Happy” which has already been rendered by Judy Garland, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra, comes along as wide-screen pop with a strong oriental impact. Israel as a musical melting pot, at the seam of orient and occident.
The Accordion Breathes Atlantic Melancholy
But while the tracks on the album are richly orchestrated, Dekel and Zitrin appear in Berlin as a quartet, thus delivering miniatures of their opus. Nothing more is not needed to stage their musical journey through time between Berlin Alexanderplatz, Brooklyn, Buenos Aires or the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem. And there is the young double bass player who, just like that, switches to the guitar, striking it like a bent-back lute. And the percussionist who, once in a while, works the Darbuka or grabs the bells.
Eldad Zitrin, actually a Jazz saxophonist and classical pianist, plays his soprano like a Turkish clarinet, breathes Atlantic melancholy through his wonderful accordion, strikes cool keyboard keys, sprinkling in all kinds of samples from his laptop. But the focal point is Irit Dekel’s clear, supple song – pure feeling. With her cherry-red lips, black, layered bob haircut and an open smile, she might be reminiscent of a coupletist from the 1930s, but she sings along an energetic contemporary Groove. “Last of Songs” is not satisfied with Jazz standards alone; the musicians also rush forward into the realm of rock. This is revealed by the escalating soli of the drummer and the bassist whose contest knows no boundaries. The music does not taste like heavy whisky but rather like fresh mint.