Pianist and composer, Uriel Herman (32), listens to his inner voice while paying attention to each encounter along his way as he fulfills his artistic vision. Over the past four years, Herman’s quartet has been diligently touring the world. Last year, they had over fifty performances outside Israel in the United States, South America, China, South Korea, Taiwan and Europe. Face to Face, Herman’s third album was released in early 2019 on the esteemed French label, Laborie Jazz. Alongside original compositions, the album also features mesmerizing version of Mordekhai Zeira’s classic Israeli song, Hayu Leilot (There Were Nights), and a surprising adaptation of David Bowie’s The Man Who Sold The World. “When I come across a song I love I try to make it mine,” Herman says, allowing for freedom while always thinking back to the original.” In Eilat, the Uriel Herman Quartet features pieces from this album, alongside excerpts from an album on the way.
Born in the Katamon neighborhood of Jerusalem, Herman attended the Israel Arts and Science Academy and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. His original music derives from the roots he grew up on – classical music, Middle Eastern and Jazz – and the music he grew to love, like Rock and Flamenco. He incorporates classical musical forms like a sonata, to which he adds absolutely free form content and playing style with spontaneous improvisation as a key element. His connection to jazz and improvisation began when he was 13 years old and studied with the late Prof. Andre Hajdu. Hajdu perceived music as a language. Today, classical musicians can only read, composers own the composing knowhow, and the third element of spontaneous and free expression is improvisation. Learning improvisation is necessary to achieve a full command of the language. In addition to his classical upbringing, Herman got a thorough improvisation training that has quickly lead him to the jazz realms.
“My interactions with him changed me forever,” says Herman about Prof. Andre Hajdu. “I learned to use improvisation as a composition tool, it is through this improvisation we find new directions and new ideas for our creations. Moreover, in recent years I have also used composing as a tool for improvisation, Im trying to challenge my improvised (speech) abilities by writing music that will be a truly challenging ground for improvisation…more than anything else, he taught me to never be afraid of change…he taught me how to embrace and welcome change.”
Herman dedicated his recent album to Hajdu and to those whose lives crossed paths with his that have influenced him. “Every single interaction you experience with someone else adds color to your inner world – A different perspective of reality, another vantage point from which to view the world around and within, which is why a confluence with another causes you to change, to develop and to grow,” he says. Herman’s path is paved between jazz, rock and classical music, and the boundless realms of improvisation. So far, critiques praise his unique approach to music and title him one of the most exciting pianists in today’s jazz scene. French Alexandre Fournet wrote, “Many musicians can create the obvious. Only few can make every gesture, every note, every moment and every choice not only brilliant, but as if it were the only possibility.”
Uriel Herman Piano
Uriel Weinberger Woodwind Instruments
Avri Borochov Double Bass
Haim Peskoff Drums
Guest Musician: Ilan Bar-Lavi Electric Guitar
Photo by: Kobi Sharvit