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Though there’s no formal theme for this year’s DC Jazz Festival, an informal current of world jazz seems apparent from its itinerary: Caribbean and panglobal sounds figure prominently, as do European and Asian players. Tonight, another link in that chain arrives: music of the Semitic diaspora, i.e. the sounds of Jewish and Muslim traditions melded with jazz. The man behind those sounds is Uri Gurvich, the subject of the evening’s Rising Star concert.
Gurvich began playing tenor saxophone at age 11 in his native Israel—-where he won Jazz Player of the Year —- but completed his musical education in the U.S., studying under Joe Lovano at the Berklee School of Music (another unofficial theme of the festival). Now located in New York, Gurvich is an in-demand saxophonist who also won acclaim as a leader with his 2009 debut record, The Storyteller (Tzadik). The music weaves post-bop jazz with Israeli, Yemeni, Eastern European and North African threads. What’s more, he does it with a quartet of equally world-traveled musicians: Argentinian pianist Leo Genovese, Bulgarian bassist Peter Slavov, and Cuban drummer Francisco Mela—-all rising stars in their own right (especially Mela), and all Berklee alums. it’s meta-world jazz, and it’s breathtaking.
The Uri Gurvich Quartet performs at 7:30 pm at the DC Jewish Community Center’s Goldman Theatre, 1529 16th Street NW. $15. (Note: This performance is copresented with the Washington Jewish Music Festival.)