WATERLOO, ON., OCT. 15, 2014 --- Ehud Ettun played the double bass and spoke Hebrew. Haruka Yabuno played piano and spoke Japanese. But the two classically-trained musicians instantly found a common language in jazz.
Ehud traveled from his home in Israel four years ago to do a Master's Degree in jazz at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Haruka was coming from Japan to study jazz at the Berklee School of Music, also in Boston. Shortly after they both arrived a mutual friend organized a jam session, and the two met for the first time.
Musical sparks started flying during the first piece they played together, "Green Dolphin Street," and their musical collaboration was born.
"I think there was some kind of musical connection in that jam session," Ehud says in a telephone interview with New City Notes. "So we had this musical click in Boston four years ago, and we have been playing together ever since."
On Saturday, Oct. 18, Haruka and Ehud play The Jazz Room. They will play pieces from their CD, released in July, called "BiPolar." They will play some standards, and some jazz arrangements of Israeli and Japanese songs. On Sunday, Oct. 19, Ehud and Haruka play The Music Room on Young Street in Waterloo, featuring pieces of by Bach.
After finishing his jazz studies at the New England Conservatory, Ehud headed for the World Capital of Jazz --- New York City. He lives in the South Bronx, and gigs regularly on the New York scene. He plays Smalls, Cornelia Street Cafe, the Bar Next Door, Blue Note and Kitano. He loves playing the ShapeShifter Lab in Brooklyn too.
After playing the classical guitar for years Ehud picked up a double bass when he was 16. He studied at the Jerusalem Music Academy with Michael Klinghoffer.
"I had a very, very good classical bass teacher in Israel," Ehud says. "Ironically, most of his students are jazz-based players."
The Israeli jazz musicians Avishai Cohen, Omar Avital and Gilad Abro all studied under Klinghoffer. At the New England Conservatory, Ehud's teachers included Dave Holland and Donald Palma.
Ehud's first CD, "Heading North," featured seven original compositions. Haruka played on that CD. So did Tal Gur on sax, Hatti Blankett on drums and Hagal Perets on guitar. The CD release party for his second recording, BiPolar, was held at the Cornelia Street Cafe in the West Village in July.
Living and playing in New York City means Ehud is exposed to lots of different music. He has several projects underway now. In Waterloo this weekend we will hear the Yabuno-Ettun Project.
Ehud works with pianist Bert Seeger and his group The Why. Ehud leads the Ehud Ettun Trio, which releases a CD soon, and the Boston-based Internal Compass Orchestra.
"There are some great, great musicians I am getting to play with," Ehud says. "I am exposed to so much different music from so many different places. I have a band with a Peruvian drummer, another band with an American saxophone player and an American drummer. Another band with Haruka, who is Japanese. And just all of this together makes New York really, really special musically."
The show on Sunday in The Music Room is a return to their classical roots.
"We will be playing some of the Viola de Gamba Sonatas of Bach, which are pieces he wrote for the Viola de Gamba, which is an early version of the cello. So Haruka and I both come from classical music backgrounds, but mostly working as jazz musicians. So it was a very interesting journey for us to go back to the music of Bach and prepare for the concert. We are very excited about this."
In addition to composing, performing and touring, Ehud runs his own recording label, Internal Compass Records. Next year, Ehud plans to return to his native Israel for a while to set up an educational program.
"So all that together is going to keep me busy for a while," Ehud says.