Elad Gellert simply loves a good tune. If it wasn't clear before, from the 31 year old Jerusalemite saxophonist's gigs around the world, it certainly comes through unequivocally on his debut release, Expectations (2012). And it's not just the mellifluous lines that Elad spins out on his saxophone of the moment – he spreads his tonal stretch across the soprano, alto, tenor and baritone – there is a captivating joie de vivre in his mindset, and delivery, that leaves the listener with a spring in his step and a song in his heart. Elad feeds off all kinds of influences, from Miles's Second Great Quintet – there is a definite Shorteresque feel to his reed work – through to the in-your-face ethos
of grunge rock.
Elad's intuitive, go-with-the-flow compositional and instrumental approach is also fueled by the diverse, if not disparate, intercultural mix of his hometown. A good part of his "university of the street" education filtered through the sounds and soulful tunes sung by Jerusalem's Hassidic community, as well as the funk rhythms he gleaned from the big wide world.
As a youngster Elad came under the experienced wing of veteran New York-bred reedman Arnie Lawrence who guided him through his first tentative steps and also inspired him to eventually attend the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York, an institution Arnie founded along with drummer Chico Hamilton. While at the school Elad fell under the spell of such celebrated jazz doyens as bassman Reggie Workman, drummer Ari Hoenig and trumpeter Jimmy Owens. In addition to the great musicians who happily gave of their accrued wisdom, Elad was inspired by a poetry reading course he took at the New School, and particularly by the work of Dave Johnson whom Elad credits with pointing him in the direction of intuitive emotional musicianship.
Elad now passes on some of the pearls of wisdom he picked up in the Big Apple to other youngsters in Jerusalem, where he runs a buzzing jam session hub
playing with the "Hoodna Afroobeat" and the "Katamon Cherry".
Look for more of where Expectations, and much more, came from when Elad and his quartet hit the road on their forthcoming tour of Israel and Europe.