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Monday, September 12, 2016

Meeting Steve Peskoff Again

Steve Peskoff Trio at Beit Haamudim

The first time I met Steve Peskoff was at the Jerusalem Cinematheque in the fall of 1987. I was playing a regular weekly gig there on Sunday nights, backing up the singer Libi on guitar. Libi knew everyone in the Jerusalem music scene, and would call up different musical guests each time to sit in with us. One Sunday day night, she called up Steve Peskoff, as I took a break and sat down in the front row to listen. Now, for the sake of full disclosure, I did have a little bit of 'weed' earlier in the evening, but that certainly should not diminish my estimation of Steve's playing, quite the opposite, it may have made my reaction to his playing much more extreme...

As I watched this tall skinny man and his Pedulla custom guitar playing through a few changes and going into a long solo, I suddenly found myself in total awe. He seemed to be saying something to himself over and over as he got deeper immersed in the music, maybe chanting or even praying to himself. After about 20 minutes, I said to myself: "I'm going to go home, burn all of my guitars, and never ever play another note, ever!

Steve Peskoff Trio at Beit Haamudim

Well, as the years passed, and I got to know Steve, and performed with him on stage from time to time, I sort of relaxed, and of course, didn't burn my guitars, and continued to play. On one or two occasions where I managed to put together some sort of band, and invited Steve to be a part of it, having him next to me on stage felt like I had a safety net under me - like I could do no wrong as long as he was there. That is just how good Steve is, but unfortunately, not very many people have heard him in the last 10 or so years, and not enough people really see what a gem of a musician and a person he really is.

After so many years of not seeing Steve in person, this evening I got to hear Steve performing live in a trio with his son Haim on drums, and Michael Edward on bass, and it was nothing short of refreshing and wonderful. (A new Jazz series has opened up at the Beit Haamudim on Rambam St. near Nahalat Binyamin, with shows every night of the week)

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