You always find a common language with the people you play music with, but also with people that come to listen to you.
Tamuz Nissim is a Jazz singer, pianist and songwriter, whose artistic experience began inside her family and has led her to very interesting places. She was born in Tel Aviv, surrounded by poetry, dance and music.
Actually, she is based in New York City, and with three successful studio albums, she has performed in some of the top Jazz venues in the world. I met Tamuz at the Turnmill Bar during a Jazz jam with friends, and she told me about her plans to visit Mexico City during 2019. We met in a colored garden to talk about her thoughts and feelings about music.
She began to fall in love with Jazz, as she grew up listening to such icons as Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughan or Bill Evans. “When I got into Jazz, I was told that New York was the place to be”. At the age of 20, she stayed there for three months to attend masterclasses and experience a bit of the city, but as the living expenses were too high, she decided to study in the Netherlands at the “Royal Conservatory of Den Haag”.
“Studying in Holland was a very good choice because there was an international community of musicians, so I could meet people from all around Europe. While I was there I formed my first band, and this led later to my first cd, ‘The Music Stays in a Dream’ (2013), which was very much influenced by the life and the atmosphere in Holland that is a little bit dark”.
Love, music and Greece
Holland was also the scenario for a decisive moment, “I met my boyfriend, Giorgos Nazos, who is Greek and eventually we decided to spend a summer in Athens, which became two years”.
This unexpected surrounding opened up new possibilities for her musical work. “I was exposed to a lot of traditional Greek music and new forms of improvisation, so after being in a music school concentrated in Jazz language, it was a very interesting discovering”. Tamuz had a very special collaboration with Martha Mavroidi, a traditional Greek singer, “we did a festival show together, in the concept of two women and two languages communicating through music”.
Welcome to New York
One night, Tamuz and Giorgos met an American guy in Greece, who invited them to the USA, specifically to New York City. “We accepted the invitation and after some time we finally managed to move there, which was something that I almost gave up. I really wanted to live in New York because this is the city where Jazz has developed to become the music that it is today”.
Getting to know and to work with living legends is something only imaginable in a place like NYC. “Playing with people like bassist Harvie S, who played duet with Sheila Jordan for a long time, has given me the chance to learn from their experiences and advice”.
Tamuz feels in a fertile environment for creating music, as there are very talented people everywhere, “and the common thing is that everybody love this music style, so the situation of personal ego is gone”.
‘Echo of a Heartbeat (2018)’
“Living in New York and taking the subway left me a lot of commute time. As it is difficult to concentrate in a book, I found myself listening to music, writing lyrics to a lot of songs and vocalist solos. ‘Echo of a Heartbeat’ was the project that came out of that”.
Also produced by Harvie S, Tamus Nissim’s third album includes three of her original compositions, and some Jazz standards. It also includes vocalist, Fried Bananas from Dexter Gordon, and Groovin’ High from Dizzy Gillespie.
“I had the pleasure of working with wonderful pianist James Weidman, Tony Jefferson with super swinging drums and, of course, with Giorgos, who is a wonderful writer. We will do also my next album together, a combined project like the previous album ‘Liquid Melodies‘, that included a lot of his compositions.
Tamuz Nissim music has reached audiences in Japan, Australia, Israel, big part of Europe and even Guadalajara, Mexico.
‘We had planned to visit Mexico City, so we sent some emails, we got the gig at Zinco Jazz Club and I was amazed. We collaborated with wonderful local musicians, bassist Israel Cupich and drummer Hiram Griss. They were so sweet and very professional.
Before her prolific career, Tamuz says that music is a language, “once you speak it you can play with people anywhere in the world. Also, you always find a common language with people that come to listen to you. I met incredible people here, and the city is so beautiful that I really can’t wait to come again, see more of it, and hopefully do more shows”.