Watch: Gilad Atzmon and all that Jazz

Gilad Atzmon and all that Jazz

Golriz Kolahi writes:

Gilad Atzmon is one of modern music’s best saxophonists, and one of the most controversial public opponents of Israel. A gentle giant, warm, charismatic and somewhat shy, Gilad is a complex character. Born into a pro-Zionist family and serving briefly in the first Lebanon war, Gilad had a dramatic turnaround: he quit the army, picked up his saxophone and exiled himself to London, declaring himself an enemy to the Israeli state.

Since then he has produced some of the modern era’s greatest Jazz albums, and collaborated with Ian Drury, Paul McCartney and Sinead O’ Connor. In music he is a “feisty improviser”, as one critic put it, comparing him to the likes of Charlie Parker.

In his political and philosophical ideas, Gilad is blunt and outspoken. His ideas on Israel and “Jewishness” have upset many people, to the extent that he has been labelled a holocaust denier and an anti-Semite. In Gilad’s life, music and politics are inseparable.

The film (see below) follows Gilad in the most flourishing time of his career, as he records albums with Robert Wyatt, the Blockheads, and gigs with Nigel Kennedy; gets invited to TV programmes and panel events all over the globe; pleases his supporters and admirers, while seriously pissing off his opponents, to the point of receiving death threats and intimidation against the venues in which he plays and speaks.

“Gilad and all that Jazz” offers a unique insight into the life, ideas, music and motivations driving the great saxophonist.

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