Is it chutzpah for Israel to host a jazz festival in Chicago?

Writing on the Israeli Jazz Festival (May 19-23) in Chicago, Tribune arts critic Howard Reich notes that the country of just 8 million “has become a powerhouse in nurturing high-caliber jazz talent.”

Lester Young by Menachem Wecker

Lester Young by Menachem Wecker

Listing several Israeli jazz artists who probably won’t be known to most readers, Reich suggests that the festival points to “Israel’s increasing role as an exporter of jazz talent.”

In the Tribune article, Michelle Higgins, director of cultural affairs for the Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest, is quoted as saying, “Israel has amazing jazz musicians that Chicago needs to hear — it just seemed like such a natural fit to do this for the first time in Chicago.”

Surely it is in Israel’s best interest — as it would be for any country — to bring its jazz musicians to Chicago, which is known for its jazz history. But do Chicagoans really buy the consulate’s claim that they have a lot to learn from the so-called emergent jazz scene in Israel? Without being too cynical, perhaps the next wave will bring some experts to Chicago whose advice on diners and architecture Chicago residents really need to know?

Filed under: Israel

Tags: jazz

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