Stylistically, the music of the Hagiga sextet can best be described as cross-genre. From driving swing chords to Arabic-influenced melodies to funk and satin grooves. Nevertheless, the Hagiga Ensemble has developed its own sound over the years. The different personalities of each musician combine to Hagiga sound, which can not be compared. The members of the band use their own Mediterranean influenced compositions as a basis to produce a new, explosive atmosphere that particularly convinces live on stage.
"New Directions" is the product of a long, creative process that started in 2009 and follows the album "Optimistic View" (Fresh Sound). The name of the new album is program: The Hagiga sextet enters new ways by using different rhythms, harmonies and melodic structure. The "New Directions Suite" represents and summarizes this approach in independent but aligned pieces. Melody and harmony are subject to a scale of 9 notes and a triadic system. Significantly influenced by Booker Little compositions from the 1960s and the sound model of the "Jazz Messengers" as well as compositions by contemporary artists such as Dave Douglas and Brad Mehldau.
One of the most important decisions that Hagiga made for her specific sound is the combination of soprano and alto saxophone with the here pronounced, spiritual sound of a trombone that shapes this album. The harmony connections are often the result of straightforward compositions and not handed down through common chord progressions. Crucial was the creative, interesting twist. "New Directions" takes the audience on a journey into unexplored areas.
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Here is what Eli Degibri wrote about Hagiga"s third CD, dated February 2017
"New Directions is a well-crafted CD led by Saxophonist Alon Farber and drummer Dani Benedikt whose writing is original and smart, balanced and most importantly, thoughtfully aware of each one of the individual band members. Taking their time, the band captivates the listener through a deliberate, interesting and wondrous journey."
A review by Yair Spiegel on his blog "The Sideman" dated from December 20, 2016:
"No wonder that "Hagiga" exists for such a long time. The music is original, fascinating, arranged and orchestrated on the highest level. The music is inspired by Israeli and Middle Eastern genres, but the general sound is very unique, contemporary, kicking and not flattering to the Israeli ear" The Hagiga Sextet is a rare occasion the Israeli Jazz scene, a music formation that is active for more than 16 years. I admit that the name of the group created a certain concern what a ran into it, since the connection between "celebration" (the English translation to Hagiga) to music creates generally a meaningful musical value which is light weighted, but that was not the case, to my relief. From listening to "Hagiga" I saw that it is an ensemble built on three horns in front and rhythm section. The original music that group performs corresponds nicely with the type of bands from the "classical" era of jazz (Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Charles Mingus). Nevertheless the sound and the sense of connection to where the group is active (Israel) is present. My feeling from listening to the latest studio recording of the group is that there is a wide array of musical colors , sensations and emotions poured in an artist hand into the music the group presents, thanks to the sensitive and well knowledgeable work of the group's leaders- Alon Farber and Dani Benedikt, together with a team of excellent players. I recommend strongly to come and be part of the musical of the group.
A first review on Hagiga's debut album "Exposure" was published on www.Jazzreview.com dated from November 2005. The reviewer is Nathan Halaway:
"This is one of the finer groups that the Fresh Sound label has produced… let it be known that Farber and his musicians have incredible empathy and their own voice. They are NOT copycats, nor sound like anyone else… This record is for anyone who is wanting to hear a new voice emerging in the jazz scene, and whom will be a force to be reckoned with if they continue in the direction they are currently in. If you especially dig the scene and style that Fresh Sound Records is producing, you will dig this record! Kudos to Alon Farber and his Hagiga Quintet."
On Hagiga's debut album "Exposure" was published on www.Allaboutjazz.com dated from December 2005. The reviewer is Mark F. Turner:
"This Tel Aviv-based group influences include Wayne Shorter and Dave Douglas while attempting to display their own style with brassy horns, a meaty rhythm section, and subtle hints of their Middle Eastern heritage. Like a musical chameleon the group changes their persona to fit many musical styles… Though the recording suffers from a lack of a singular identity these musicians are quite talented"
A review on the Hagiga latest album "Optimistic view" was published on www.Allaboutjazz.com dated from February 17, 2009.
The reviewer is Jay Deshpande:
"No other way to put it: the Alon Farber Hagiga Sextet is a fantastic find… Farber's group provides seven inspiring tracks on their sophomore release, Optimistic View… Such is Farber's brilliance as a songwriter and arranger—he takes the best from each of the traditions he calls upon, uniting a wide array of colors towards the common end of an exciting, celebratory music."