Chuck Israels

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Chuck Israels
Chuck Israels in 2014
Chuck Israels in 2014
Background information
Birth nameCharles H. Israels
Born (1936-08-10) August 10, 1936 (age 87)
New York City
OriginNew York City, New York
GenresJazz, cool jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, arranger
Instrument(s)Double bass
The Public Domain Song Anthology with Modern and Traditional Harmonization, a 2020 book co-edited by Israels

Charles H. Israels (born August 10, 1936)[1] is an American jazz 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, and Judy Collins. He has won one Grammy in 2020 for his work on mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato's album "Songplay".


Born in New York City,[2] Chuck Israels was raised in a musical family which moved to Cleveland, Ohio, when he was 10. His stepfather Mordecai Bauman was a singer who performed extensively with composer Hanns Eisler. He, along with Israels' 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. In 1948, the appearance of Louis Armstrong's All Stars in a concert series produced by his parents gave him his first opportunity to meet and hear jazz musicians.

In college, Israels had the opportunity to perform with Billie Holiday. His first professional job after college was working with pianist Bud Powell in Paris. His first professional recording was Stereo Drive (aka Coltrane Time) with John Coltrane, Cecil Taylor, Kenny Dorham, and Louis Hayes.[1] The recording 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, having replaced the deceased Scott LaFaro, [1] and for the Jazz Repertory as Director of the National Jazz Ensemble from 1973 to 1981.[1] He made recordings with Kronos Quartet and Rosemary Clooney in 1985. He was the Director of Jazz Studies at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington until 2010. In 2011, he created the Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra and recorded Second Wind: A Tribute to the Music of Bill Evans in 2013. In 2020 Chuck Israels received a GRAMMY for his work on mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato's album "Songplay".

Humphrey Lyttelton, presenting Jazz 625 in 1965, 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."


As leader[edit]

Year Album Group
1976 National Jazz Ensemble Vol. 2 National Jazz Ensemble
1992 Meeting on Hvar Chuck Israels International Trio
1998 The Eindhoven Concert Chuck Israels and the Metropole Orchestra with Claudio Roditi
1999 The Bellingham Sessions Chuck Israels Quartet
2013 Chaconne a Son Gout Chuck Israels Quartet
2008 Convergence Chuck Israels Trio
2012 It's Nice to Be with You Chuck Israels Trio
2013 Second Wind: A Tribute to the Music of Bill Evans Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra
1975 National Jazz Ensemble National Jazz Ensemble
2015 Joyful Noise: The Music of Horace Silver Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra
2016 Garden of Delights Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra

As sideman[edit]

Year Album Main Artist
1976 End of a Rainbow Patti Austin
1963 Something's Coming! Gary Burton
1959 Stereo Drive (aka Coltrane Time) Cecil Taylor
1985 Rosemary Clooney Sings Ballads Rosemary Clooney
1961 Eric Dolphy in Europe Eric Dolphy
1962 Nirvana Bill Evans and Herbie Mann
1962 Moon Beams Bill Evans
1962 How My Heart Sings! Bill Evans
1962 Time Remembered Bill Evans
1964 The Bill Evans Trio "Live" Bill Evans
1963 At Shelly's Manne-Hole Bill Evans
1964 Waltz for Debby Bill Evans, Monica Zetterlund
1964 The Judy Collins Concert Judy Collins
1965 Trio '65 Bill Evans
1965 Bill Evans Trio with Symphony Orchestra Bill Evans
1966 Bill Evans at Town Hall Bill Evans
1961 A Day in the City Don Friedman
1962 Circle Waltz Don Friedman
1964 Getz Au Go Go Stan Getz
1965 Here and Now Hampton Hawes
1963 My Point of View Herbie Hancock
1963 Impressions of Cleopatra Paul Horn
1963 J.J.'s Broadway J. J. Johnson
1963 New Jazz on Campus Paul Winter
1960 George Russell Sextet at the Five Spot George Russell
1960 Stratusphunk George Russell
1961 George Russell Sextet in K.C. George Russell
1963 Eddie Costa: Memorial Concert Coleman Hawkins and Clark Terry
1966 The Doors of Perception Dave Pike
1973 Mizrab Gábor Szabó
1974 Phoebe Snow Phoebe Snow
1985 Monk Suite: Kronos Quartet Plays Music of Thelonious Monk Kronos Quartet
1978 Baltimore Nina Simone
1998 An Evening With Herb Ellis Herb Ellis
2010 Barry Harris in Spain Barry Harris
2005 Strictly Confidential Jon Mayer
1965 Fifth Album Judy Collins
1966 No Dirty Names Dave Van Ronk


  1. ^ a b c d Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1239. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ Yanow, S. (2015). Chuck Israels: Biography., AllMusic, Retrieved August 31, 2015.

External links[edit]