GETTING TO KNOW: YOTAM SILBERSTEIN

Yotam Silberstein was born and raised in Tel-Aviv, Israel. He started playing guitar at the age of 10, focusing mostly on rock and blues. At 21 Yotam won the prestigious “Israeli jazz player of the year” competition with his trio, and was asked to perform in Italy at the renowned Umbria Jazz Festival. The same year Yotam released his debut record “The Arrival” and toured throughout Europe and the Middle East. In August of 2005 Yotam received a scholarship to study at the New School for jazz and contemporary music in New York City. Yotam is a regular on the jazz scene performing in many of the city’s great venues with great artists.

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Image Credit: Emra Islek

The Street talked with Yotam before his first first visit to Australia and his quartet’s performance at The Street.

WHAT ARE THE POSSIBILITIES OF GUITAR FOR YOU AS AN INSTRUMENT?

To me the guitar is a tool to express my feelings and myself through music.

HOW HAS YOUR ISRAELI CULTURAL HERITAGE INFORMED YOUR CREATIVE LIFE INCLUDING COMPOSING AND ARRANGING.

Well, I guess growing up in Israel and being surrounded by israeli music has made and impact on me, People always tell me their hear a lot of Israel in my music.

YOU WERE BORN MANY THOUSANDS OF MILES AWAY FROM BRAZIL. HOW DID YOU COME TO BE INFLUENCED BY THE MUSIC OF THIS COUNTRY?

Brazilian Music is very popular in Israel, especially around the time I grew up, and ever since, I have always been attracted to it. When I moved to NY it got a lot deeper, and I got to meet and interchange with lots of Brazilian musicians.

AFTER MOVING TO NEW YORK, YOU BEGAN STUDYING WITH SOME OF YOUR CHILDHOOD HEROES AND THEN PLAYING PROFESSIONALLY WITH THEM. WHO WERE THEY AND HOW DID THIS FEEL?

Yes, that was the reason for coming to NYC the first place. Some of those people include : James Moody, Curtis Fuller, Jimmy Cobb, Louis Hayes, Benny Golson, Clark Terry, Hank Jones, Ron Carter, Bob Cranshaw, Charles McPherson, Roy Hargrove, John Patitucci, Jimmy Heath, Frank Wess, Marcus Miller, Davis Sanborn, Toninho Horta, and the list goes on..

WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH TO LEADING AN ENSEMBLE?

Just trying to have a good time 🙂

US DRUMMER ARI HOENIG IS TOURING WITH YOU. WHAT BROUGHT YOU TWO TOGETHER?

Ari is one of the best drummers and musicians on the scene today, and this is our first tour together, we’ve played together in new york, and I’m very excited about this

WHAT IS IT ABOUT COMPOSING FOR FILM THAT ATTRACTS YOU?

I think there’s something about my music that is very imagery and a lot of people say that as well. It challenges me to add atmosphere to a picture.

ARE YOU PLANNING TO EXPLORE NEW MUSICAL TERRITORIES?

I’m always practicing and learning new music.

THIS IS YOUR FIRST VISIT TO AUSTRALIA. WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO DISCOVERING?

I’m really looking forward to sharing my music with the Australian people and to interact and make new friends. Also to see some beautiful places.

WHAT MUSIC ARE YOU LISTENING TO CURRENTLY?

Everything from Classical, Jazz, World music…

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