Alex Bershadsky stands out among accomplished musicians. He rises far beyond the “bass-ics.”
Alex Bershadsky was born in Latvia and raised in Israel. He is an experienced musician, seasoned composer as well as an educator. He has spent years as an understudy to Israel’s finest musicians. This exposure had a tremendous influence on his development as both a performer and a composer. Bershadsky merges his scholarly musical skills within a style of innovative diversity. This eclectic mix of muse ranges from jazz all the way through to electronic.
In 2011, Alex released his second CD, Anonymous. This eight track CD was the follow-up to his successful debut release of Junk in 2007. Within Anonymous, Alex feels he was able to get closer to the innovative styles and artistic goals he had for his music. Bershadsky teamed up with other musical gurus, as well as top-notch studios and producers to embark on this latest project. He has spent his life developing his musical roots. However, now his craft has flourished into a bountiful harvest. His current album is making him anything but “Anonymous.”
Anonymous was produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Ian Freitor - who also produced his debut CD Junk. The sessions were recorded at both Ian Freitor’s The Playground Studios in New York and at the esteemed Bennet Studios in Englewood, New Jersey. Anonymous also includes Ian Freitor on keyboards, Eugene Maslov on piano, and Shlomi Cohen on Saxophone. Drummer and Percussionist Eran Asias performs on most of the album, however, is also joined by Gal Gershovsky on drums on two tracks. Additionally, Justin Mullens joins the album with the golden sound of brass - on trumpet.
Bershadsky explains, “I chose Anonymous as an album title because it is associated with things that people do without getting credit for. I also like the mystery it creates!” Instead, Anonymous is doing just the opposite for him and the pros behind the project. A deluge of outstanding reviews poured in from well-known and respected musical journals, just a few are listed below.
“The first single from the album, ‘Ma’oz Tzur’, is a tour de force, combining lyrical and melodic flourishing harmonics and high-register chordal playing, overdubbed with a charging fretless solo.”
- Nick Wells, Editor, Bass Guitar Magazine
“Alex Bershdsky is sure to secure himself a slot in the minds of bass lovers and players everywhere…”
- Damian Erskine, Bass Musician Magazine
“The Israeli fretless jazz/fusion bass wizard…”
- Bryan Beller, Bass Player Magazine
Alex’s released his debut CD, Junk in 2007. It was a collection of musical treasures. Junk was also produced by Ian Freitor at The PlayGround studio in New York. Bershadsky’s initial offering contained a blend of jazz, electronic styles including funk, r&b, as well as new age. The international attention that began with Junk was only the beginning for Alex!
Alex has spent over twenty-five years playing bass, composing and educating musicians. He is among Israel’s most accomplished musicians. As a teenager, he had the opportunity to perform alongside the best talent in both radio and television. Alex successfully formed two bands in the 1990s. One of these was the jazz fusion band RTZ - with whom he formed with well-known UK jazz drummer, Asaf Sirkis and Guitarist Amir Perelman . The band released two albums and toured Europe. Zonzee released two albums, Time Flies, in 1999, which received much acclaim in the press. In 2005, the band released Buzz, which featured legendary guitarist, Mike Stern.
Alex has also performed at prestigious events such as The Red Sea Jazz Festival and Rigas Ritmi Jazz Festival - this was the largest annual rhythmic music festival in the Baltic region. Alex wrote most of the music for both bands, demonstrating his skill in musical composition. It was just a matter of time before Alex would cross the Atlantic as a representative for Israel via their Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also performed in the United States in such world famous Jazz venues such as the legendary Blue Note in New York City.
Alex had the opportunity to record sessions at Steve Vai’s Mother Ship Studio with well-known Argentinean guitarist Carina Alfie and top producer Neil Citron While in Los Angeles. Alex has also worked as a session player at some of the top recording studios from New York to Los Angeles. Bershadsky has been endorsed by Zon Guitars for the last five years. "I give a lot of credit to Joe Zon and Zon guitars for helping my career reach this point," explains Bershadsky. Alex had the privilege of playing bass clinics in the United Kingdom with bass player Michael Manring - as well as representing Zon Guitars at the NAMM Show in Los Angeles.
With Bershadky’s diverse styles of music, listeners have a rare opportunity to experience a true master musician! His newest CD Anonymous has already gathered success, as well as his debut CD Junk. It is with irony that Anonymous may bring Alex worldwide attention for his skills. Alex Bershadsky’s music career certainly looks bright! With pure talent, determination, musical skills and free-flowing creativity - there is no stopping Bershadsky.
Bershadsky is a one of Israels top musicians, educators and composers. However, he is also much more than that. An accomplished bass player - he uses the bass to create the poetry of the universal language – music. His gift is best described by Alex himself, when he says, “I think that the electric bass is a bridge between the rhythm and harmony. It's the most significant instrument in the orchestration. It changes all the perspective of how we hear the music. There’s no other instrument can pull this trick off.” There are few other musicians that can pull off what Bershadsky has as well within his releases Junk and Anonymous. Alex’s music is rooted in academia - yet flourishes with boundless creativeness. It is a mix of muse that rises far beyond the “bass-ics.”
Alex Bershadsky - Bass
Eugene Maslov - Piano
Shlomi Cohen - Saxophones
Eran Asias - Drums
Alex Bershadsky - "ANONYMOUS" - (2011)
Alex Bershadsky - "JUNK" (2007 - My records)
ZONZEE - "BUZZ" (2005)
ZONZEE - "TIME FLIES" (1999 - NMC)
RTZ - "RETURN TO ZERO" (1995)
Anonymous by Alex Bershadsky
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The moment I got Alex Bershadsky’s “Anonymous” in my hands, I instantly remember how much I had enjo...The moment I got Alex Bershadsky’s “Anonymous” in my hands, I instantly remember how much I had enjoyed his previous CD “Junk” reviewed in the October 2007 issue of Bass Musician Magazine…. So, you can imagine my high expectations for this fine piece of musical artistry, and I wasn’t disappointed!
“Anonymous” is a prime example of highly refined, energetic, precisely performed Jazz/Fusion. Alex’s selection of collaborating musicians is perfect as they mesh seamlessly.
Alex Bershadsky – Bass & Vocals
Eugene Maslov – Piano
Shlomi Cohen – Saxophone
Ian Freitor – Keyboards
Justin Mulliens -Trumpet
Eran Asias- Drums & Percussion
Gal Gershovsky- Drums (tracks 3&6)
The attention to musical detail is impeccable. Most of the tracks were written by Alex himself with one traditional piece and even a Nirvana standard. Throughout the tracks, Alex lays down a serious groove but often cuts loose and shows us what makes him one of the very few extraordinary bass soloists around; intricate finger work combined with controlled speed and precision are second to none.
The opening track “Why Don’t You Come and See Me” sets the tone with a funky, complex groove. The sax weaves around the drums and bass with a piano foundation but as the piece progresses everybody gets their chance to strut their stuff on this cut. This piece is very tight!
“Song for Emily” slows things down to a smooth Samba beat. The drums go with an interesting, untraditional tempo that really works on this tune. We are treated to more serious solo work from Alex here.
“Falling Angels” has an amazing Bass line that you just have to hear for yourself.
“Ma’oz Tzur” brings us a haunting tune with Alex playing by himself. There is a nice use of harmonics and exquisite fretless work using some well-timed looping that draws your attention to this piece.
Smells like Teen Spirit” takes a recognizable tune and converts it into a whole new piece; take the melody, change the tempo and the feel then sandwich some very expressive playing and you have a whole different ball game.
I have been a fan of Alex Bershadsky’s work since I first heard it. Check out “Anonymous”, you will quickly become a fan too!
By: Raul Amador
Alex Bershadsky - Ready, Set, Go …
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Nick Wells meets Israeli bass phenomenon, Alex Bershadsky Used to describe a myriad of different ...Nick Wells meets Israeli bass phenomenon, Alex Bershadsky
Used to describe a myriad of different styles and notoriously difficult to play, it’s fair to say that the term ‘jazz fusion’ has garnered its fair share of bad press over the years. Nevertheless, the genre has presented a number of bass players with an opportunity to develop a more virtuosic and technically progressive approach to how the instrument is traditionally played. Based just a few miles outside of Tel Aviv, Alex Bershadsky is a prime example. Already making waves as an accomplished sideman, composer and lyrical soloist, Alex’s bass work combines esteemed technical prowess with melodic improvisations often played over complex funk and R&B grooves. ‘In the beginning I was trying to copy other bass players,’ says Bershadsky. ‘And then I tried to copy some sax players like Parker and Coltrane, and just mimic them. I was reading lots of music and maybe I got lost in all of that, but if you try to mimic this bass player or that sax player, or copy this chord change or improvise over this or that, I think you can end up with something fresh and original.’
The follow-up to Alex’s 2007 debut, Junk, is due out early in 2011 and promises more of Bershadsky’s own free-flowing compositions coupled with his dynamic bass style. ‘I won’t tell you that I have some divine vision when I’m playing, because I don’t!’ laughs Alex. ‘Sometimes I think about scales, timing or phrasing, but really I try to avoid thinking about anything because it interferes with the flow of ideas. When I’m lucky I don’t think at all, and that’s a point I really want to reach, to stop thinking and just play. I consider that a miracle when it happens, but most of the time it’s work, work, work, maintaining my technique, my reading ability, training my ears and containing my ego – which can be the biggest problem!’
The first single, ‘Ma’oz Tzur’, to be taken from Alex’s upcoming CD, is a bass tour de force, combining lyrical melodic flourishes, harmonics and high-register chordal playing, overdubbed with a charged fretless solo. ‘When I play those licks I sometimes have this guilt trip about not sounding melodic or not being musical. There are so many bass players around, especially now with YouTube; there are millions of guys playing some incredible, crazy stuff, but it has become so fast, so edgy and dramatic. Sometimes I feel people don’t listen to music anymore; instead they look, they see music. Me, I’m trying to take myself out of the equation and just make music.’
On Junk, Bershadsky used three basses, favouring his Tobias Killer B for the main part, but for the past three years he has been endorsing Zon basses, taking to the stage with both a Sonus and a Legacy Elite Fretless. ‘To me, Joe Zon is a saviour. It’s very easy for guys from the UK or the States or Germany to go out and play festivals, clubs or get an article in newspapers and magazines, but as a musician from Israel it’s very difficult. It’s a small country but Joe has opened up so many doors for me. Now I’m using the Zon instruments played through Markbass cabinets and I’m recording through an Avalon U5 preamp. Sometimes I double the bass with two or three tracks; I’m not afraid of doing that so long as you can hear all the basses, but you can play with the low and the high end so they don’t interfere with each other.’
With a new album on the horizon and as an expectant father, the new year looks to be full of promise for Bershadsky, who we have definitely marked down as one to watch.
‘I’m 42 and I still feel like a kid in my head,’ he laughs. ‘Maybe I’m more stable now and more accepting, but to accept yourself is difficult for a musician – to accept what you do and know that it’s OK to play wrong notes sometimes and it’s OK not to be the fastest bass player on earth. After years of playing bass you get to a point where you have everything at your fingertips, so you just have to let the ideas flow in and flow out, and just mix the energy around you. If I can put myself aside, I find I have more room to be creative, and that’s a good place for me to be right now.’
Israel's Jazz Rebel Comes Clean: Alex Bershadsky
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IN THIS INTERNET AGE, THE GREAT unsung bassists you used to hear about via word-of-mouth are just ...
IN THIS INTERNET AGE, THE GREAT unsung bassists you used to hear about via word-of-mouth are just clicks away. In the case of Latvian-born Israeli fretless jazz/fusion bass wizard Alex Bershadsky, those clicks led to a fascinating local story and global journey that has everything to do with location.
“Israel is a great country; it’s my home,” Bershadsky explains. “But it’s not the ideal place to develop a music career. It’s a small country, and big breaks are hard to come by.”
The long road to Bershadsky’s breakthrough 2007 solo release Junk began in a tough Tel Aviv neighborhood, where he acquired his first bass via smash-and-grab burglary. Next were endless hours of practice, complemented by demanding private lessons with Israeli upright player Egon Kerten. “He told me, You’re either great or you’re nothing at all, so I practiced all the time and have been for years.” Alex’s next adventure—a kamikaze mission to make it in New York City at age 20—resulted in him making ends meet by selling sneakers that fell off a truck somewhere before returning to Israel. “I burned all the bridges behind me and never looked back.”
This rebellious passion was finally directed into his music, and after sideman gigs with Israeli artists Korin Alal and Shlomit Haaron, he hit the European jazz circuit in the mid-’90s, cutting an album in Amsterdam’s Osho Center with his jazz act Return To Zero. Upon returning to Israel, he formed the fusion band Zonzee, whose first album Time Flies was a bonafide jazz hit in the Israeli market. Zonzee’s success emboldened Bershadsky for a second U.S. trip. “I did my first stint in New York, taking drugs, feeling like a king, losing the music. On my second attempt, a decade later, I returned older, wiser and in better form, and my music flourished.”
Featuring work by guitarist Mike Stern, Zonzee’s second disc Buzz was indeed tracked in his spiritual home of New York. Alex returned a third time in 2005 for a gig at the Blue Note, on behalf of the Israeli government’s Ministry Of Culture, no less.
Now back in Israel, Alex Bershadsky is teaching and working up his second album. “This time, nothing is obvious,” he says, comparing it to his first record. “The music is different; it’s coming from somewhere else, somewhere deeper—a place of appreciation.”
Alex Bershadsky - "JUNK"
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Israeli Fret-less Bass phenom, Alex Bershadsky, is sure to secure himself a slot in the minds of bas...Israeli Fret-less Bass phenom, Alex Bershadsky, is sure to secure himself a slot in the minds of bass lovers and players everywhere. Having toured festivals around the world as a member of the Israeli fusion band "Zonzee" (and representing Israeli jazz at the Blue Note, NY at the request of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), those "in the know" have already known Alex to be an accomplished player, lyrical soloist and sure footed technician. His first solo release, "Junk" has proven Alex to also be a wonderful writer.
While this album will take us down many roads stylistically, Alex's voice on the instrument (4 string fret-less Zon Legacy Elite) is strong and comes across beautifully in every setting. From the beautiful and haunting melodies of "Drift" to the hard driving and uber-funky "That's the Way It Is" or the Willis inspired "Rush Hour", this album will surely have you checking his website for scheduling to see when he's coming to town. This band Smokes.
Alex Bershadsky Releases “Anonymous”
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Bassist Alex Bershadsky has released his latest solo effort, Anonymous. The 8-track album is full of...Bassist Alex Bershadsky has released his latest solo effort, Anonymous. The 8-track album is full of Bershadsky’s fusion compositions, with heavy influences from jazz, funk, and R&B. The final two tracks are his arrangements of the traditional song “Ma’oz Tzur,” on which he plays solo bass, and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
The band on the album proves its versatility with several textures, from cool ballads to upbeat funks. Bershadsky’s unique playing employs a cool double time feel in his bass lines for “Fallen Angels” and “The River Song,” while showcasing his expressive fretless work on “Drift Again.”
Alex Bershadsky – Anonymous
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Alex Bershadsky’s new album, entitled Anonymous, presents a creative mix of jazz, fusion, and pop. W...Alex Bershadsky’s new album, entitled Anonymous, presents a creative mix of jazz, fusion, and pop. While his previous album, Junk (which I also loved), was an experiment in electronic rhythms alongside jazz melodies, Anonymous focuses more on the melodic part of that equation, and the heart of the music.
Bershadsky says, “my vision was simple, I wanted to get closer to what I believe my music should sound like, and to express my personality/emotions through the music.”
And yet this simple vision gives us a rich sound. Listen to “The River Song,” for example, and you’ll hear an impressively fast bass line set against complex chord progressions and a solid groove, all providing a backdrop to Alex’s haunting vocals.
By the way, I asked Alex how he could possibly perform the song live given the difficult bass part and the simultaneous vocal, and he replied, “Yes, I’m performing them both. As I was practicing this technique I used to sing along on top of the exercises I was playing. I guess it’s kind of natural for me.” That’s musicianship.
But the complex parts are all part of that simple vision, and result in a really cool song. And despite his technical prowess, Bershadsky’s Anonymous is not just an exercise in technique; it’s beautiful music.
Perhaps the most beautiful track on the album is “Ma’oz Tzur.” The composition is a traditional Jewish song that Bershadsky says is a “song of hope,” and I can hear that. I also hear melancholy – hope tinged with pain – a yearning. This is the kind of emotion that makes good art.
My favorite song from Junk is called “Drift,” and Alex revisits that song on Anonymous with a track called “Drift Again.” Bershadsky says he “felt that the song needed a more acoustic approach (piano) and a slightly different groove.” Like the original, the song is upbeat and melodic, and evokes an almost care-free mood. “Drift Again” strips away the electronic parts of “Drift” to focus on those core elements, but the song is every bit as sweet-sounding, maybe more so.
Alex Bershadsky’s Anonymous is a collection of songs that range from imaginative (“Falling Angels”) to intimate (“Song for Emily” – written for his newborn daughter) to fun and funky (“Why Don’t You Come and See Me”). If you like contemporary jazz music you’ll love this album.
Side note: Alex told me the album name represents “all the people that stand behind, or in the shadow or not get credit for their work… and of course me.” So I’d be remiss not to give credit where it is due. The musicians include Ian Freitor on keyboards, Eugene Maslov on piano, Shlomi Cohen on saxophone, Eran Asias and Gal Gershovsky on drums and percussion, Justin Mullens on trumpet, and of course Alex Bershadsky on bass and vocals.
New jazz rediscovers its classical roots
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He is one of the most promising bassists to emerge on the world scene. This specialist of the fretle...He is one of the most promising bassists to emerge on the world scene. This specialist of the fretless instrument promotes his kaleidoscopic first solo album, after a long period with Zonzee and different derivative fusion formations.
Alex Bershadsky is a person who one can certainly define as an eclectic artist. Endowed with more than just solid academic training, he is also a lover of classical musicians such as Johann Sebastian Bach. He considers Bach as one of his main sources of inspiration. He succeeds in uniting the classical aspects with a strong sense of creativity, lending an absolutely unmistakeable sound to the bass tracks.
After appearing on some of the most prestigious stages of the international jazz scene, including the Blue Note New York with the well known Israeli fusion bands Zonzee and RTZ (he has made several CDs with each of them), with his album Junk, he has passed his first "real" test, proving himself not only as an excellent bass performer, but also as a musician of great talent. He presents a colorful range of sounds, from jazz to electronic, with a manner that contrasts the most unbridled imagination with his classical roots.
Alex, Junk could be a sort of consecration for you as a musician, recognized on the international level......What do you think of this?
"The first time I listened to the CD after recording it, I felt that I had tried to introduce there every genre of music to which I am attracted even though in fact, while I was working on it, I never thought of such a possibility. The variety of styles in Junk is probably the result of the music I have come into contact with in recent times."
You were born in Latvia, clearly far away from the world music scene, and you grew up in Israel...do you think that moving at such a young age had a significant impact on your musical development?
"No doubt the move to Israel had a key influence on my development. In addition, Israel is also far from the so-called important musical scene. Therefore, this made it difficult for me to attend important live performances, or receive adequate exposure. In a certain sense I had to do it on my own. Perhaps this is why I have spent so much time abroad. Coming from a small country makes you work even harder in order to achieve what you want".
When you speak of your musical influences you often make reference to such greats as Bach. What is your connection to the world of classical music?
"I was four years old when my grandmother in Latvia sent me a violin. I played it until I was seven. I especially enjoyed playing Bach, and there is no need to explain why! I also liked Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Debussy and many others. Classical music gave me many starting points and ideas for composition, so much so that I recently started a project with a flute player who, in fact, plays Bach."
Your music seems to be a mix of academic perfection and creative instinct. Do you think that this could be a key to your unique sound?
"Yes, I believe that this could be one of the reasons, even though when I write my music I don't use any pre-established model. I must confess, though, that the academic part of my training tends to emerge when I need it in order to make some order out of the chaos".
Even today many people continue to view the bass merely as an accompanying instrument. What do you think of this very prevalent opinion?
During the past few years the bass has seen a jump in its status. Nowadays one can do just about anything with a bass: it can be the perfect accompanying instrument, as well as an incredible solo instrument. The variety of styles for which it can be used, the types of basses that exist - even though differing widely from each other, certainly make it a very rich instrument."
Throughout your career you have appeared all over the world. Which is your favourite live performance?
"Fortunately I have had the privilege of playing at various jazz festivals (around the world) just about everywhere, but no doubt, walking out on the stage of the Blue Note in New York was an experience I will never forget".
Junk is anything but an "easy" CD. How do you think your first album as soloist will be received by the public?
"Look, I only hope that my music will achieve its purpose, which is to touch people's hearts. I can only say that I believe that to truly appreciate this Album, you must immerse yourself in it, just as you immerse yourself in a book".
Interview by Alessandro Doni
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Alex Bershadsky plays the bass as an instrument of melody, rather than one of accompaniment alone. A...Alex Bershadsky plays the bass as an instrument of melody, rather than one of accompaniment alone. And his gifts for songwriting and musicianship are equally matched by his virtuosic technique and fret(less) board prowess.
Bershadsky is not your average bassist. He melds jazz, fusion, and electronic rhythms seamlessly, creating a sound that draws the listener in. Speaking of his album Junk in an interview with Acid Jazz Magazine, Bershadsky said, “I believe that to truly appreciate this album, you must immerse yourself in it, just as you immerse yourself in a book.”
Bershadsky was born in Latvia, but grew up in Israel where he learned from Israeli upright bass player Egon Kerten. He went on to tour Europe and the U.S. in the 90s with his bands RTZ and Zonzee. Zonzee released two albums: Time Flies in 1999, and Buzz in 2005, which featured legendary guitarist Mike Stern. In 2007 Bershadsky released his first solo album entitled Junk. He’s now working on his second album, and in an interview with Bass Player Magazine, he described the record as “…different; it’s coming from somewhere else, somewhere deeper. A place of appreciation.”
If this is your first introduction to Alex Bershadsky’s music, we recommend you get to know him better.
Junk is Treasure
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Junk is anything but. It's actually the perfect reflection of what Alex is as a solo artist. This ...Junk is anything but. It's actually the perfect reflection of what Alex is as a solo artist. This first solo project from Alex stands alone as compositional masterpiece. Ian Freitor produced Junk at Niva Studios in New York. The ten tracks on the album contain a remarkable mix and blend of Jazz, Electronic styles amidst an overlay of Rhythm and Blues and New Age. You cannot box this project into any genre, this is obvious and intentional - a pure reflection of the free flowing creativity that is Alex. With perfect instrumentation and exquisite production Junk will take you on a complete musical journey.
The first track on Junk entitled "Ready, Set, Go!" is the perfect place to start this album for this journey. The first track opens the creative energy with a fast tempo electronic styled composition. You won't hear the Jazz yet this is pure Electronic/Dance in nature, but you will hear the musical skills of Alex and his session players along with Alex's incredible bass playing. Track two on Junk is Day Dreaming Drugs the Pain of Living. The pace begins to soften somewhat from the fast paced tempo of its predecessor. It is here that one will notice the Jazz influences begin to show through. The use of horns is seamlessly blended with incredible bass guitar work. Alex's influences from artists such as the late great bass player Jaco Pastorius are vividly apparent. In addition, the influence of stylists such as Allan Holdsworth appears throughout Junk.
Another notable track that truly displays what Alex's style is all about is the final track on the album. Rush Hour demonstrates the raw talent of improvisation and creative compositional skills that Alex is gifted with. It's perhaps Alex's favorite track on the album he says, The last track I am probably most proud of because I didn't know what I was going to do until the last second.
Can't Get Use to It is another track on Junk that probably sums it all up best; we are not used to musical masters in today's world. They are rare. With the fusion of styles of Alex Bershadsky, it's impossible to get used to it That is a good thing and a sign of a true master musician. Junk, as you will find is anything but, in fact Junk is Treasure! With a nexus of determination, talent, creativeness and musical skills, only the future will tell just how far Alex rises as a master of pure academic eclecticism.
2) Song for Emily
3) Why don't you come and see me
5) The River song
6) Falling angels
8) Smells like teen spirit (cover)
9) Butterfly trap
11) Film Noir
There are no upcoming dates at this time.
|Jun 12, 2010 Saturday||9:30 PM||Alex Bershadsky & the looney tunes @ Shablul Jazz club||Tel-aviv, Not Applicable, IL|
|May 12, 2010 Wednesday||9:00 PM||Alex Bershadsky & the looney tunes @ Simta club||Tel-aviv (Jaffa), Not Applicable, IL|