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Why Are So Many Jazz Musicians From Israel These Days?

For a country of some 7.5 million, Israel has a surprisingly large jazz footprint. More and more internationally acclaimed jazz musicians happen to be from the country.

Twenty-five years ago, the Israeli jazz scene was barely on the cultural map. But enough American musicians moved there, and enough foreign-trained Israelis moved back -- and they started teaching. There's long been an infrastructure for classical music in Israel, and jazz latched onto that model. U.S. jazz schools have since established relationships with Israeli ones, owing in part to long-standing political relations.

But observers wouldn't be paying attention to the trend if the musicians weren't exceptional, either, in a lot of different ways and styles. In a conversation with Weekend All Things Considered host Guy Raz, I pointed out four Israeli musicians with standout records released in the second half of this year alone.

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