Daniel Sarid

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Released 09/22/2016
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Israel Daniel Sarid “Good &amp; Bad
are Concepts Created by People within Scenes”If one were to meander through the
Israeli experimental scene, or the free jazz scene, or even the standard jazz
scene, or you know what, even the classical music scene, one won’t need long
before s/he is introduced with the name Daniel Sarid. Hence, it’s a very
interesting fact that Sarid, although an accomplished pianist and composer,
doesn’t consider himself an active musician when compared to some of his
colleagues, who I must add, would disagree with him wholeheartedly. Regardless,
Sarid was one of those products of the 80s who were fortunate enough to bring
about the birth of a new scene in Israel, encompassing experimental styles from
classical avant-garde to free jazz. This came about, at first, with his
managing years at the Gada Ha’Smalit, by now a defunct mythical venue for
experimental music, and later with his joining forces with two other Israeli
musical greats – Assif Tsahar, and Ilan Volkov, in the formation of the Levontin 7, still active now in it’s 10th
year. The Levontin 7, other than being the “it” place in Tel Aviv for many
years, represents a meeting point for various musical genres coinciding quite
peacefully under one roof. It is quite customary to attend a free jazz concert
there one night, an indie rock gig the next, a classical recital on a different
evening, followed by an experimental evening of noise, closing with some heavy
metal. This is perhaps why people react so fondly to this venue, as it has no
agenda in its programming other than parading this lack of agenda. But more so,
and as you’ll soon discover, it represents this same generation of artists
Sarid is part of, and their insistence on creating in Israel a scene
corresponding with similar scenes in the world, yet acting in a manner
completely of its own. Sarid travels back in thought in
order to describe his journey, and begins with his adolescence in the 80s. The
defining mood was one marked by an inability to feel a sense of individuality
within what was then still a highly a recruited society. The ethos of Zionism
was still quite alive, and it seemed that any conscious or even subconscious act
of self could be deemed as an attack on the collective spirit. Sarid couldn’t
find his voice within this culture and its manifestation in language and art.
As a telling example, he recounts for us his feelings upon hearing the music of
Pink Floyd for the first time – an experience he describes as mind boggling.
Here was a music that paraded the individuals creating it, and almost
celebrated the individualistic status. At this point, Sarid was not yet aware
of the problematic aspect of idolatry of self, as he was simply awe struck by
the possibility of setting oneself on the pedestal rather than the “cause”, or
societal issues. Sarid continues to describe how his
father once took him, the adolescent musician, to see the Globe Unity Orchestra, who was on tour in Israel. This reconnects, in
Sarid’s mind, to the first performance of Cecil Taylor he saw in Chicago at the
age of 15. In both instances it was not the music taking the forefront, but the
energy and spirit. These were musical examples in which an ensemble is formed
out of complete distinguishable individuals. For Saird, this music presented a
possibility for an individualistic practice in art, a practice far removed from
his then surroundings. Hence it should come as no surprise
that a few years later we find Sarid in NY, immersed in a scene, which, at
first, provided a mirror for his lack of knowledge and provinciality, and this
although he was already considered a bonafide member of the jazz scene in Israel.
More interestingly, it was during the NY years that Sarid slowly realised that
music was only a part in a larger spiritual practice, and came to an important
underlying understanding regarding freedom – namely that freedom isn’t about
being alone. Sarid noticed that many of the
finest protagonists of “free” music were, by default, outcasts – lonely
individuals struggling for survival within a society (not necessarily
financially, although this many times was the case too). He realised that the
position of these same artists, being critical, immediately excluded them from
within artistic societies that simply weren’t able to contain this criticism
without seeing it as an outright attack. In accordance, Sarid describes a
difficult period of struggle where although feeling free, he also felt
extremely lonely. This was the feeling that also led to his eventual return to
Israel. But with this return Sarid finally managed to create a synthesis
between his personal development, music, and society.Sarid mentions our past guest, Harold Rubin, as instrumental to his personal realisations upon his return. Rubin
representing, possibly as he does for an entire generation of improvisers, this
portal from specific musical thought towards a holistic approach. Soon after,
Sarid is already managing the Gada Ha’Smalit, which allowed a renewed
connection with society and the founding community that will, in time, become
the experimental music scene in Israel.In almost immediate reaction, Sarid
warns of scenes, quoting Bob Dylan who said: “good and bad are concepts created by
people within scenes”. The Levontin 7, hence, was a practical solution brought
about by three friends within that fledgling scene who shared the common ethos
claiming that there is no such thing as a bad genre in music. And now, back to Israel 2016, Sarid
describes himself as a person who doesn’t much see himself as a soloist or
indeed someone producing solo work. However, both his solo endeavours (as the
examples recorded for us at Halas) as well as his ensemble formations (as can
be seen in his upcoming trio CD release) represent a facet of his inner search.
In a simple fashion, Sarid presents a simple and beautiful notion: “our need as
societies and individuals is for healing and therapy, and music is my way”. And
so finally, I reach a closer understanding of why Sarid doesn’t necessarily
refer to himself as an active musician, but rather sees music as a way of life…
a shade of relation to self, which is much grander than music alone. Although I
relate with this sentiment, I still have to disagree… in my eyes Sarid is as
close as one gets to the real deal.    


Instrumental Yes