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The National Jazz Ensemble

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  • Born: New York, NY
  • Years Active: 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Chuck Israels is still best known for his work with the Bill Evans Trio (1961-1966), but he has been an important educator since the 1970s. A tasteful and supportive bassist, Israels' first recording was the 1958 meeting between John Coltrane and Cecil Taylor. He played with George Russell's sextet (1959-1961), was briefly with Eric Dolphy's band, and then joined Bill Evans. During the Evans years, Israels also appeared on records led by J.J. Johnson, Herbie Hancock, Gary Burton, and Stan Getz. He founded and headed the National Jazz Ensemble (1973-1978), a top repertory band that recorded two albums for Chiaroscuro. Afterward, Israels was less active as a player, but he did record with the Kronos String Quartet (1984) and Rosemary Clooney (1985), in addition to heading an obscure session for Anima (1991).