The Harbor stage offered a great view of the sea and the beautiful -- albeit extremely short -- sunset.
The Cohen Brothers - Yuval (trumpet), Avishay (soprano sax) -- and sister Anat (clarinet and tenor sax) with rhythm section of a guitar, bass and drums, provided entertainment. I do not recall the other two rhythm players, but the bass player, Gilad Abru, was excellent.
The repertoire was music of Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington, but both Avishay and Yuval often reverted to modern playing, their usual style. Yuval's playing reminded me of a letter to Down Beat many years back: "Modern jazz? Avant-garde? We played like that 30 years ago, but then we called it tuning up."
To me, they often sounded as if they were just playing scales. Anat, who lives in the States and plays with the all girl "Diva" big band (and played in Caesarea with a small contingent thereof, "Play Five," a few years ago), was a different proposition. Her playing was much more traditional, except once, when she apparently decided to show her brothers (on Hodges's "Kinda Dukish") that she, too, could "bop" with the worst of them. (Okay, so I am mouldy.) In general, rather disappointing, especially to those who still remembered that the Cohen Brothers did pull it through at the first Caesarea festival, rarely deteriorating "to modern mayhem," if I am allowed to quote myself.
The evening concerts were another story. All were excellent!
The first night, it was the Ken Peplowski Quintet, with Cyrus Chestnut on piano. (I do not remember reading his name very often in the RAG, but then, he is more a bop than traditional pianist.) Filling out the quintet were Howard Alden, Nicki Parrott and Joe Ascione. I do not intend to dwell upon them at any length -- there isn't much I can say about them that hasn't been said before! All numbers were very well played, as would be expected of that line-up. On Zoot Sims' "Red Door,' Alden played an electric rather than acoustic guitar.
The second day, it was the Duke Heitger Dixieland Band, with most of the previous day's line-up, except that John Sheridan replaced Chestnut, joined by Heitger on trumpet and vocals, Warren Vaché on cornet, John Allred on trombone and Anat Cohen on tenor sax and clarinet. Warren Vaché was in a wheelchair, but that did not affect his playing which was wonderful! Anat's tenor solo on "Wolverine Blues" reminded me of Bud Freeman -- the highest compliment I can give a tenor sax player. Various players sat out on some numbers, adding variety to the program. If I have to mention special favorites, those would be Heitger-Vaché duetting with piano, banjo and bass, and "Some of These Days" by Allred with rhythm. Wow!