In 2011, Albert Dadon (Albare) came to the attention of Matthias Winckelmann, founder of prestigious German jazz label enja Records. Their mutual esteem led to the recording of a new project, Long Way. The project will be released on Oct. 9 in the U.S. Produced by Winckelmann at his favorite Brooklyn studio, Studio Two, the album is a collaboration by some of the world’s finest musicians including triple GRAMMY Award-winning drummer Antonio Sanchez (Pat Metheny Group), saxophonist George Garzone (the Joe Lovano Nonet), pianist Leo Genovese (Esperanza Spalding), prolific harmonica player Hendrick Meurkens and Albare’s long time musical collaborator, bassist and composer, Evri (Evripedes Evripidou).
Albare calls this super group iTD, or the International Travel Diary, to reflect both their cosmopolitan backgrounds and their global aspirations. The music they create is sophisticated, masterfully played, with a sunny disposition that belies the depth and complexity of the compositions. Winckelmann describes it as, “a surprising, truly rewarding album” and the producer of albums by Chet Baker, Abdullah Ibrahim and many others should know.
When Albare first met Winckelmann, the two agreed upon Sanchez and Meurkens for the recording. The guitarist brought Sanchez to Melbourne in 2007 to play with Chick Corea at the festival he was directing, and was confident he was the right player for the album. As for Meurkens, Albare had yet to meet the musician, but had watched video footage of him playing and says in a news release, “he was exactly the kind of player I had in mind for this project.”
The guitarist met Garzone in Australia at Monash University School of Music. Albare says, “One day George came to have lunch at my home and when I told him that I was doing a project for Enja he said, ‘man, I want to do this with you.’ Of course, I was delighted to accept his involvement, I love his sound. He asked me who I would have on piano and I said, ‘no piano thanks.’ George knew instantly where I was coming from, as we both suffered the tortures of piano players. George said, ‘man do I have the guy for you!’ He then went on describing this Argentinian player, and I have to say that I am so happy I listened to Garzone’s advice. Leo is a pleasure to be with on and off the stage.”
The band never met, never rehearsed, until the day they met at Studio Two in Brooklyn. “After a few hours of setting up the sound, we took our instruments and started with ‘Cut to the Chase,'” says Albare. “After a few minutes we did a first take and it sounded good. We tried a second one, and it was magic. This is the take you can hear as the first track in the album. The rest of the sessions followed the same pattern. I can honestly say that when I walked in that morning, I didn’t know what to expect. I knew I was dealing with great musicians, and I was confident about the material Evri and I had composed but the magic doesn’t always happen, so I went in with no expectations. I feel humble and grateful.”
Born in Morocco, Albare’s influences are varied and global in the true meaning of the word. He grew up in Israel and France and thanks to these international origins, is fluent in French, English, Hebrew and Spanish. At the age of 27, he migrated to Australia where he first became known musically, at the forefront of the then burgeoning Acid Jazz scene, recording a string of albums for the Festival label.
He has performed internationally with his band using the nom de guerre Albare (the phonetic spelling of his given name) and produced A History of Standard Time, for Australian pianist Joe Chindamo featuring legendary bassist Ray Brown.
Always immersed in the arts, from 2003 to 2005 Albare was Chairman of the Melbourne Jazz Festival. In 2005 he brought the Umbria Jazz Festival to Melbourne. Umbria Jazz Melbourne ’05 attracted 135,000 visitors under the artistic direction of Carlo Pagnotta. In 2006 the organization appointed Albare to become the new Director of the Festival and take the artistic lead. When he took the helm it was renamed the Festival of Melbourne Jazz and the 2007 edition enjoyed the presence of more than 200 artists from around the world, performing across 10 venues, in 112 concerts during its 10 days, including Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Gary Burton and McCoy Tyner.
In 2003 the guitarist also founded the Australian Jazz “Bell” Awards (named after Australian legend and patron of the event pianist Graeme Bell, AO, MBE) and chairs the board of The Australian Jazz Awards (a not-for-profit arts organization). The Bells are the only jazz awards in Australia and recognize the achievements of up-and-coming and established Australian jazz performers and composers. In 2008 Dadon received an Order of Australia (AM) for service to the arts, particularly for his work with the Melbourne Jazz Festival.