Chuck Israels

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Chuck Israels
Chuck Israels
Chuck Israels in 2014
Background information
Birth name Charles H. Israels
Born (1936-08-10) 10 August 1936 (age 78)
New York City, New York, United States
Origin Cleveland, Ohio
Genres Jazz, bebop, cool jazz
Occupation(s) Double bassist, composer, arranger
Instruments Double bass
Associated acts Bill Evans, Paul Motian, Herbie Hancock, J.J. Johnson, Judy Collins, Billie Holiday, Stan Getz, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane, George Russell, Gary Burton, Rosemary Clooney

Charles H. "Chuck" Israels (born August 10, 1936) is a composer, arranger, and bassist who is best known for his work with the Bill Evans Trio. He has also worked with Billie Holiday, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Stan Getz, Herbie Hancock, J. J. Johnson, John Coltrane, Judy Collins and many others.


Born in New York City,[1] Chuck Israels was raised in a musical family which had relocated to Cleveland, Ohio when Chuck was 10. His stepfather, Mordecai Bauman, was a singer who performed extensively with composer Hanns Eisler and who, along with Chuck's mother, Irma Commanday, created a home environment in which music was a part of normal daily activity. Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger and The Weavers were visitors to the Bauman home and the appearance of Louis Armstrong's All Stars in a concert series produced by his parents in 1948 gave Chuck his first opportunity to meet and hear jazz musicians.

While still in college, Israels had the opportunity to perform with Billie Holiday, and his first professional job out of college was working with pianist Bud Powell in Paris. His first professional recording was "Coltrane Time" (originally "Hard Driving Jazz") featuring John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Kenny Dorham, and Louis Hayes. It is the only documented performance of Coltrane with Taylor. The recording also showcased Israels as a composer with his composition "Double Clutching". Israels is best known for his work with the Bill Evans Trio from 1961 through 1966 and for his pioneering accomplishments in Jazz Repertory as Director of the National Jazz Ensemble from 1973 to 1981. He made recordings with The Kronos String Quartet and Rosemary Clooney in 1985. He was the Director of Jazz Studies at Western Washington University in Bellingham until 2010. Chuck Israels currently resides in Portland, Oregon.[2] In 2011 Israels created the Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra with some of the city's best musicians, and released the critically acclaimed recording "Second Wind: A Tribute to the Music of Bill Evans" in 2013.

Humphrey Lyttelton, presenting Jazz 625 in 1965, once said that Israels was "a superb technician who handles the double bass as easily as if it were a guitar. ... Chuck Israels is one of the reasons why musicians have come reeling away from performances by the Bill Evans Trio in a mood poised between elation and utter despair."[3]


With Patti Austin

With Gary Burton and Jim Hall

With John Coltrane

With Rosemary Clooney

With Eric Dolphy

With Bill Evans

With Don Friedman

With Stan Getz

With Herbie Hancock

With Hampton Hawes

With JJ Johnson

  • JJ's Broadway

With Paul Winter

  • New Jazz On Campus (Columbia, 1963)

With George Russell

With Coleman Hawkins

  • Edie Costa Memorial Concert

With Dave Pike

With Gabor Szabo

With Phoebe Snow

With Kronos String Quartet

With Nina Simone

With Herb Ellis

  • An Evening With Herb Ellis (Jazz Focus) 1998

With Barry Harris

  • In Spain (Terasima Records 2010)

With Claudio Roditi and Metropole Orchestra

  • Chuck Israels and the Metropole Orchestra: Eindhoven Concert" (Azica 1997)

With North German Radio Symphony Orchestra

  • Hannover Philharmonic Plays Music by Chuck Israels (NDR)

Chuck Israels International Trio

  • Meeting On Hvar (Anima Records 1992) German release

Chuck Israels Quartet

  • The Bellingham Session Vol 1&2" (Audio Ideas 1999)
  • Chaconne A Son Gout (Blue Jack Jazz Records 2013) Dutch release

With Jon Mayer

  • Strictly Confidential (Fresh Sound Records 2003)

Chuck Israels Trio

  • Convergence (Philology 2008) Italian release
  • It's Nice To Be With You(Stunt Records 2012)

With Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra

  • Second Wind: A Tribute To The Music of Bill Evans (SoulPatch 2013)


External links[edit]