I like to listen to African music; I like to listen to Brazilian music that's not just Choro. I love to listen to Radiohead, I like to listen to James Brown - any music.
We still have to overcome the notion that a clarinet squeaks. People need to remember what a beautiful instrument it is, including in popular music.
Clarinet is an incredible instrument. It's a great, expressive instrument.
The clarinet has always been my baby. I just didn't know that for a while.
When I play the clarinet, I am 100 percent myself. It is as if it is part of my body. I can play whatever I think. Let me just read a melody and make it as sweet as I can.
I was focusing on sax while at Berklee, but then I started to play Brazilian choro and Colombian music. I was doing more folkloric stuff on the clarinet because it works better. Finally, I realized I was working more on the clarinet than the saxophone, and I started to feel more comfortable on it.
Clarinet is often associated with certain genres, like swing or folk music. I combine the old and new, using the clarinet as an expressive tool and not in one genre. I'm just happy that people are drawn to what I do.
I'm working really hard to get the clarinet out of that hole, that Benny Goodman thing.
The clarinet chose me more than I chose the clarinet.
The clarinet is not so dominant in Israeli music as it is in klezmer. I heard klezmer when I was growing up, but for some reason I avoided it. I listened to Louis Armstrong instead. But the sense of melody is the connection between jazz and klezmer.
To me, music is a luminous experience. Whenever I'm immersed in it, life lights up for me, no matter what else is going on.
Israel is a mishmash of other cultures. It's like New Orleans; it's a meltdown of other cultures.
Whether it's performing a concert with my quartet or sitting in with my peers, enjoying musical conversations at home with my brothers or hanging and playing choro with my friends - sharing moments in that bright space of music are the happiest times.
My father had lived in the States in the 1960s for a while and came to love American Songbook material. Even today, he sometimes recognizes singers that I never even heard of, which is beautiful and inspiring.
My initial training was on the keyboard - mainly the great American songbook. In junior high, during the day, I was a classical clarinetist, but after school, I played New Orleans jazz and big-band music.
Sometimes I get off stage, and I almost have no recollection of what happened. It's almost like a trance; it's very bizarre.