It’s a Celebration
The Red Sea Jazz Festival. A one of a kind cultural event bringing together people and sounds every summer for over thirty years. All that is jazz is here: well-arranged anarchy, joy and gloom, madness and rhythm, sensuousness and reason. All that and more wonderfully set in the unique surroundings of Eilat Port featuring freight containers that have magically formed music halls and majestic cranes adorning the endless paved terrain overlooking the yachts floating peacefully on the water. Industrial chic and warm desert night breezes just before the end of summer break calls for an all-night good vibration until dawn. And every year it is magic mixing the right ingredients: Freedom, Music and Love.
Established in 1987, the International Red Sea Jazz Festival became a respected and valued cultural institution. The initial thought was to further stimulate the already vibrant local jazz scene and on the way invite guests to Israel’s fantastic tourist gem down south, the city of Eilat, a beautiful oasis resort by the sea. Orchestrating a brilliant composition of international and Israeli artists the Red Sea Jazz Festival is considered one of the long-running most regarded around the world today. Featuring outstanding original Israeli jazz alongside first-class virtuoso guest jazz artists from around the globe, each evening includes eight to nine concerts followed by the traditional jam session until sunrise.
Scheduled during the last week of August, this upbeat summer festival attracts thousands of visitors and dozens of artists for a four day spellbinding and sophisticated music celebration. Since 2011, the Red Sea Jazz Festival also offers a winter format held in February at various hotel venues around the city.
The City of Eilat, a modern tourist town with a spectacular backdrop of blue sea and red desert mountains, is the ideal location for cultural events and recreation. Festival guests enjoy a pampering vacation at the various hotels and stay up all night enjoying the musical experience until dawn. The festival is held at Eilat Port where every year the immense paved terrain is turned into a concert hall complex thanks to an ingenious patent. The festival concert halls are created by the arrangement of freight containers, one on top of the other, to form six meter high walls to define the venues. With a warm breeze blowing from the sea to the docks, this festival site is a unique combination of natural desert and industrial urban vibe. The best place in the world for jazz.
For over thirty years, hundreds of guest artists from dozens of countries have performed at the Red Sea Jazz Festival, and the following features a choice few:
Herbie Hancock • Earth, Wind & Fire • Incognito • Ron Carter • Wayne Shorter • Al Foster • Tito Puente • Michel Petrucciani • Rickie Lee Jones • Preservation Hall Band • Blood, Sweat & Tears • Diane Schorr • Enrico Rava • Toots Thielemans • Joshua Redman • Dee Dee Bridgewater • Didier Lockwood • Chick Corea • Dianne Reeves • Brad Mehldau • Manhattan Transfer • Goran Bregović • Gonzalo Rubalcaba • Bad Plus • Hiromi • the Brecker brothers • Gary Burton • Egberto Gismonti • Cristian McBride • Branford Marsalis
RSJF Artistic Directors
The founder and first artistic director of the Red Sea Jazz Festival was pianist Danny Gottfried, who led the festival for 22 years and shaped its character. In 2009, bassist Avishai Cohen stepped into this role, directing the festival for three years. Since 2012, the festival is jointly directed. Saxophonist Eli Degibri is the artistic director of the summer RSJF, and Dubi Lenz is the artistic director of the winter RSJF.
While adhering to the distinct vision of the Red Sea Jazz Festival, each director brings their own unique perspective and artistic flair.
The Red Sea Jazz Festival showcases a fascinating combination of local Israeli cultural tapestry and the jazz world in all its diversity – from classic and traditional jazz through bebop, hard bop and New Orleans, to fusion, salsa, rock jazz, and world music scented ethnic jazz. Again and again the Red Sea Jazz Festival presents a unique musical scene that truly combines the global and local, East and West, modern and traditional. At the crossroads between Europe, Asia and Africa, the State of Israel is a country of immigrants, a real melting pot of cultures and musical styles. Israeli jazz, as well as this festival, features a vibrant meeting point of people and artistic expressions. With more Israeli jazz artists contributing to the worldwide jazz community over the years, the global village is here.