King David Suite
(Lionel Hampton arr. Itamar Borochov)
In 2019, Israeli-born New York resident trumpeter Itamar Borochov was commissioned by Ben-Gurion University in Israel to re-arrange jazz legend Lionel Hampton’s orchestral
King David suite. The premier performance of Borochov’s critically acclaimed 8-piece ensemble arrangement (scored for trumpet, piano, bass, drums and string quartet) took place as the centrepiece of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s international conference on 'Israeli Jazz and Hebrew Culture' in April 2019.
In the late 1950’s, Lionel Hampton and his band were invited by Itzhak Ben Zvi (who would eventually become the second president of Israel) to perform in Israel. The band played 48 concerts in four weeks at venues ranging from concert halls to army camps, and over this time Hampton deepened his appreciation for both Israel and the Jewish faith. Of particular importance was the time Hampton spent with Chief Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog when Hampton was invited to his home. He later dedicated his symphonic King David Suite (composed in 1953) to the Chief Rabbi.
Borochov notes that “Hampton really understood the Israeli sound. He’s got some quotes from Hassidic melodies in there, and in the first movement there is a lamentation that sounds like Hatikva.” Borochov feels the American vibes player married his own musical and cultural references with Jewish Middle Eastern culture. “What is really great is that he managed combine that with the sound of the blues. It’s a masterpiece.”
Hampton’s score was destroyed when a fire gutted his home in 1997, and the composer died in 2002 believing the score to be lost, but in 2008 a copy was discovered (in the collection of Frank Como, Hampton’s longtime arranger), which was then donated to Ben-Gurion University in 2015.
In this inspiring modern re-imagination, Borochov is uniquely placed to bring new life to this little-known masterwork, with his ability to combine the middle eastern sounds and rhythms which were the background to his upbringing in Israel with his solid be-bop jazz credentials, utilising his adept skills on quarter-tone trumpet.
King David Suite video excerpts
King David Suite Excerpts [Lionel Hampton Arr: Itamar Borochov] Live
at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel 2019
Notes for promoters/venues
King David Suite (arr. Itamar Borochov) is scored for jazz quartet (trumpet, piano, bass, drums) and string quartet. With additional rehearsal time it will be possible to use a local professional string quartet (or University music programme students).
The suite runs to 35 minutes. It can be presented as one half of a two-set concert with the additional set constituting either:
1. A quartet performance of Itamar Borochov’s original music (from 2019 album ‘Blue Nights’)
About Itamar Borochov
Raised in the cosmopolitan port city of Jaffa, now a significant presence on the New York jazz scene, Borochov is creating a new musical hybrid - bringing the sacred sounds of his upbringing to a classic jazz quartet setting.
His latest release 'Blue Nights' (Laborie Jazz 2019) is a nine-track multi-cultural joyride of enchanting lyricism, exotic motifs, anthemic builds and virtuosic expression.
Borochov has toured across four continents and performed at prestigious venues such as Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, SummerStage at Central Park, Blue Note NY, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, Bimhuis, Flagey and international festivals including Roskilde, Montreal Jazz Festival, Ottawa Jazz Festival, London Jazz Festival, Moscow Jazz Festival, Tel Aviv Jazz Festival, Red Sea Jazz Festival, Jazz à Liège & Shanghai World Music Festival.