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Hot Day in Jerusalem? Cool Down and Take Five

August 7, 2010

Oooof.  Jerusalem was hot!

Well, it was the end of July and the peak of summer heat after all, so it was to be expected.  We enjoyed clear and sunny weather in the 90s F, and at times we experienced 38 C (100F)!   Spring and Fall are much more moderate, but when you visit this time of year make sure to pack a sunhat and sunglasses and drink lots of water!

It was great to return to our hotel near the Old City each evening to cool off.  The Inbal Jerusalem Hotel is a 5 star deluxe hotel within walking distance to the Mamilla open pedestrian mall, the Jaffa Gate and all of the wonders of the Old City.

Inbal Hotel Courtyard, Jerusalem

It is a hotel built in the round and the central courtyard an inviting place to gather.  While I was there this space hosted a traditional Jewish wedding, a business reception, and a lovely Shabbat dinner buffet.  Tonight the area was free and we sauntered languidly through the courtyard tables  to the swinging sounds of a jazz quartet  playing “My Favorite Things”.

Cool drinks on a hot Israeli night (Tagami)

My nine TerraOlivo conference colleagues and I ordered some cool drinks and chatted amiably about a visit to the Dead Sea — the Mar Morto sounds so much better in Spanish and Italian — and various logistics for the next day.   We ordered some light food; salmon for some and an Israeli salad for others.

I loved the salad, about 3 cups of diced tomatoes and partially peeled cucumbers with a generous mix of a chiffonade of lettuce, dressed with lemon juice, Israeli extra virgin olive oil and salt.  It was simple, cooling and very satisfying.  [Mom, it reminded me a little bit of your namasu].

Salmon in the Inbal Courtyard (Tagami)

Israeli Salad, Inbal Hotel Courtyard (Tagami)

We had just started to tuck in when the band launched into an up tempo Take Five from Dave Brubeck’s classic album Time Out.

Wow!  They were great!  Conversation stopped and we turned around to take a better look. They were so young!  We speculated that they were all teens.  The ensemble was led by a young woman on alto sax with terrific control over tonal shading from sweet-plaintive to grindy-sassy.  Her phrasing, breathing and overall musicality were top notch, and her back up was impressive as well.  [Not to short-change the others — I’m a flute player so was paying more attention to the saxophonist’s technique].

We clapped and hooted and called out to them.  They are a quartet called Four-Fifteen and they are all teenagers.  They play at the Inbal every Tuesday and Thursday from 7:00 – 10:00, then one of their moms helps them pack up and takes them all home.  We listened to those little cats wail on some great standards until 10:00, each of them taking turns to jam some tight solos.

Yarden Klayman and Four-Fifteen

17 year old Yarden Klayman, soprano and alto sax

16 year old Amir Solomon, bass

15 year old Daniel Povolotsky, percussion

14 year old Moshe Elmakias, keyboards

Yarden started playing when she lived in New Zealand and Australia for 3.5 years, and now she and Moshe study at the Music and Dance Academy High School in Jerusalem.  Their repertoire ranges from jazz and standards to Israeli folk music, Klezmer and their own original music.   Despite their youth, they have gigs all over the city, from private parties and receptions to restaurants and cafes and even the annual Khutzot Hayotzer summer festival.  They also all play with the Klayman Band (no relation), a big band led by Yevgeni Klayman and will be touring in Odessa this Fall.  To book the band you can write to yardenkof@hotmail.com.  The Inbal Hotel specials are posted through September which you can see here.  Also check out their great Old City live cam on the same page.

We enjoyed chillin’ with these cool cats in the hot city, I hope that one day you can, too.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jaynet Tagami permalink
    August 7, 2010 6:36 PM

    Your pictures and narrative are superb! I look forward to each posting.

  2. August 8, 2010 2:58 AM

    Liz – I love your writing and this post is a brilliant example. Not only do you capture the magic of your experience, you take the time to recognize and promote the amazing people you encounter. I’m sure Four-Fifteen and the Inbal Hotel appreciate the positive publicity! You rock, my friend!

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