Gilad Atzmon - Not strictly kosher

Larger than life, with an extraordinary view of jazz, philosophy and politics, the Israeli saxophonist Gilad Atzmon tells Stuart Nicholson about his new creation Artie Fishel, a Jewish Jelly Roll Morton with his own theories about where jazz was created. Atzmon explains why he turned his back on his Israeli heritage, after serving in the Israeli army, diagreeing with the political aspects of the Jewish state and instead actively supporting the Palestinian cause. It’s a stance that has caused his critics to accuse him of being a “self hating Jew” something which Atzmon in this remarkable interview faces head on.
Gilad Atzmon - Not strictly kosher
It’s a bright, clear September morning. Golders Green in the London Borough of Barnet is a buzz of activity as shops and cafés prepare for another busy day. For those who’ve never been there, Golders Green is a cosmopolitan area that has had a Jewish community since the 1900s. There’s plenty of kosher food restaurants, plus several Japanese, Turkish, Korean and Italian eateries and well over a dozen coffee bars. I’m heading towards one of them near the Golders Green-Finchley Road crossroads to meet the Jewish bandleader Artie Fishel, a brilliant but mad saxophonist from the ghettos of Eastern Europe who is now living in the area.

As I open the shop’s glass door, Fishel’s voice booms out: “Come over here and sit down!” I join him in a booth near the back of the shop. He’s an unmistakable figure. Tall, thickset with a mop of curly black hair and a huge pair of huge horn-rimmed glasses that frame his mad, flashing eyes. He’s drinking coffee and is just finishing a breakfast of bagels, cream cheese and smoked salmon. “Hoy vey, Uri,” he says, beckoning a waiter lurking nervously in the background, “Get this gentile a coffee.”

We exchange pleasantries – well, he tells me how busy he is, how he hasn’t really got time for an interview, but since I’m here he will give me 10 minutes, but no more, and since he doesn’t give interviews anyway this will be a world first, so I am a very lucky man and maybe I should be paying him for the privilege? I quickly switch on my tape recorder.

To read the rest of this article subscribe here

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website

If you do not change browser settings, you consent to continue. Learn more

I understand

Featured Artists

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
Prev Next
Classic interview with Hugh Masekela: “Hey, instead of rhythm and blues, how about ghetto and Bach?”

Classic interview with Hugh Masekela: “H…

In 2010, Hugh Masekela, the great South African musician and an inspiration in the cultural and political struggle against apartheid, spoke candidly to Jazzwise's Marcus O'Dair about his continued to fight...

Read More.....
Frank Zappa's jazz legacy

Frank Zappa's jazz legacy

Frank Zappa left a huge legacy of pioneering music and outspoken opinions that has proved obliquely influential in shaping the style and attitudes of generations of rock and jazz musicians...

Read More.....
Across the tracks: Ella Fitzgerald's recording of Duke Ellington's ‘I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues’

Across the tracks: Ella Fitzgerald's rec…

Brian Priestley takes the opportunity to put Ella Fitzgerald’s soulful 1957 version of Ellington’s ‘I Ain’t Got Nothin’ But The Blues’ under the microscope It’s well known that Ella Fitzgerald had...

Read More.....
Life-changing jazz albums: 'My Song' by Keith Jarrett

Life-changing jazz albums: 'My Song' by …

Pianist Gwilym Simcock talks about the album that changed his life, 'My Song' by Keith Jarrett. Interview by Brian Glasser The biggest turning point I’ve ever had, it was a life-changing...

Read More.....
The shape of jazz to come: who to look out for in 2018

The shape of jazz to come: who to look o…

Photo: Rohey It’s time to divine the divine, as we ask our crack unit of writers and assorted other taste-formers to gaze into their crystal balls and reveal the intel on...

Read More.....
Top 20 Jazz Albums of 2017

Top 20 Jazz Albums of 2017

In another turbulent year of head-spinning change, much of it unwelcome, jazz has once again proved itself as resilient and inspirational as ever. Jazzwise’s prestigious Albums of the Year New...

Read More.....
John Etheridge interview: “We never got paid for Soft Machine. God knows what happened to the money”

John Etheridge interview: “We never got …

AJ Dehany caught up with Soft Machine’s John Etheridge and spoke to him about his formative fretboard influences and approaches to guitar playing, as well as penetrating the complex chronology...

Read More.....
Introducing: Quincy Jones’ Qwest TV

Introducing: Quincy Jones’ Qwest TV

Quincy Jones is many things – a 27-time Grammy award winner, TV and movie producer, actor, record company head honcho, magazine founder, and arranger and music producer of the biggest...

Read More.....
Life-changing jazz albums: 'Charlie Parker with Strings'

Life-changing jazz albums: 'Charlie Park…

Keyboard-player Lonnie Liston Smith talks about the album that changed his life, Charlie Parker With Strings, by Charlie Parker. Interview by Brian Glasser I know the one straight away – it...

Read More.....


Subcribe To Jazzwise

Advertisement

Call 0800 137201 to subscribe or click here to email the subscriptions team

Get in touch

Jazzwise Magazine,
St. Judes Church,
Dulwich Road, 
Herne Hill,
London, SE24 0PD.

0208 677 0012

Latest Tweets

Many happy returns Craig Taborn @ECMRecords @ProperJazz @Tzadik_label @screwgub @impulselabel https://t.co/kNs3EDDmwj
Follow Us - @Jazzwise
Alright, it ain't jazz, but this Robert Haigh album of piano works is so bloody beautiful @Unseen_Worlds… https://t.co/Throwxvh8Y
Follow Us - @Jazzwise

Newsletter

Sign up to the Jazzwise monthly E-Newsletter

 

© 2016 MA Business & Leisure Ltd registered in England and Wales number 02923699 Registered office: Jesses Farm, Snow Hill, Dinton, Salisbury, SP3 5HN . Designed By SE24 MEDIA