Nitai Hershkovits: Call On The Old Wise

Israeli pianist plays spacious solo pieces mixing a jazz sensibility with rococo and impressionist qualities


Born in 1988, Hershkovits’s increasingly interesting discography includes work with the trumpeter Avishai Cohen and the saxophonist Oded Tzur: he appeared on the latter’s recent excellent ECM sessions Here Be Dragons (2020) and Isabela (2022).

The 18 rippling yet cleanly rendered, spacious and diversely cast pieces of Call On The Old Wise – all Hershkovits originals apart from Molly Drake’s Dream Your Dreams and Ellington’s Single Petal Of A Rose – evince both a wide-ranging, most patient – and painterly – sensibility and a quality of dynamics and touch that speaks of a refined knowledge of jazz history (hear Rose, the swinging Of Mentorship and the archetypal River Wash Me) as well as a classical literacy of both a rococo and impressionist nature.

It’s hard not to think of Debussy and Ravel during Enough To Say I Will, Placid In Africansque and In Satin, for example. Despite such precedent there’s a freshened sense of time, dynamics and “meaning” here, the poised, now weighted, now playful mien of a good deal of this often translucent music (hear Intermezzos Nos. 3 and 4, Mode Brilliante, A Rooftop Minuet and Late Blossom) repaying close attention.

I’d highlight further tracks but that would be to vitiate the exquisitely realised whole of this intriguing – and recommended – recital.

Call On The Old Wise; Enough To Say I Will; Mode Antigona; Of Trust And Remorse; Intermezzo No. 3; Majestic Steps Glow Far; Dream Your Dreams; Placid In Africansque; Mode Brilliante; Single Petal Of A Rose; A Rooftop Minuet; Late Blossom; Intermezzo No. 4; In Satin; This You Mean To Me; Of Mentorship; For Suzan; River Wash Me (50.08 )
Nershkovits (p). Lugano, June 2022.
ECM 551 5448