“There’s a serenity to it and a fire,” Borochov says. “Sometimes it’s like playing as if you got punched in the gut. Sometimes, it’s like you’re seeing angels.” The music of Borochov’s quartet is a mix: contemporary jazz with Middle Eastern and North African melodies and rhythms, drawing from Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jewish synagogue music cultures. “I’m deeply rooted in the jazz tradition, and heavily influenced by the aesthetics of the old world,” Borochov notes. It is this musical hybrid that has brought him international recognition and inspired various projects from producing records for his family to composing and contributing to film soundtracks. After a recent stay at home in Brooklyn, he is now set for a European/Middle Eastern tour this autumn, beginning in Paris at the Ermi’ Jazz Festival and continuing with shows this month in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and his birthplace.
Just over a year and a half ago, contributing writer David Serero sat down with musician Itamar Borochov, an accomplished trumpeter expressing his approach to music and his compositions. Born in the Israeli port city of Jaffa, Borochov grew up with instruments. “I started on trumpet at age 11…and at that time I already played violin, classical piano, and recorder.” This musical aptitude is shared in his family. His older brother Avri, who also runs in jazz circles, has played several times with Borochov’s quartet, and their father Yisrael has performed with them both as the Borochov Dynasty. Though he admits he “was a lazy kid and never wanted to practice from the classical books,” he developed a commitment to his brass. “The trumpet is a demanding instrument,” he remarks, “and she wants all of your attention. So in no time I devoted myself…and fell in love with it.”
In 2007, Borochov relocated to New York City to study at the New School. Since then, he has recorded and produced smaller LPs and released full-length feature albums, including Onset (2014), his sophomore album Boomerang (2015), and his latest Blue Nights (2018) on the French record label Laborie Jazz. He has toured extensively in the United States and abroad, performing at the Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, SummerStage at Central Park, Montreal Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Tel Aviv Jazz Festival, Jazz à Liège, and the Shanghai World Music Festival among others.
“I’m continuing to count my many blessings, to be able to do what I love, to be inspired every day by music, and to play it for you all,” says Borochov. After France, his next stop on tour will be in Israel, where he will be reunited with his brother to play as part of the Avri Borochov Group at Shablul Jazz on October 7th, followed by a performance with the Borochov Dynasty at the East-West House in Tel Aviv on October 10th. From there, he will meet up with his long-time collaborator Ziv Ravitz to showcase their talents in Munich (10/15; Jazz club Unterfahrt), Tilburg (10/16; Paradox Tilburg), and Brussels (10/18; Flagey). Later in the month, Borochov’s quartet will perform in Tampere, Finland at the World Music Expo (WOMEX), one of the largest international music gatherings accompanied by trade fairs and film screenings. Finally, the tour will conclude on October 26th with a show at the Jazzkaar Festival in Tallinn, Estonia. Itamar Borochov will then return home to Brooklyn in time for his Smalls Jazz Club performance on November 27th.