Tabula Rasa Project

“Tabula Rasa” ensemble

 This ensemble emerged as a result of a unique intercultural dialogue and presents a rare combination of different trends of traditional, classical and modern – jazz music. From the music of troubadours of middle ages to works of Bartok and Scriabin, from traditional folk music to bebop and fusion, from original compositions to free improvisation.

“…Improvisations on a “blank slate” combined in them supreme skill of all ensemble members with the finest taste, sensation of form and sense of humor…”

“…Brener`s renderings of classic works cannot be labeled as simply “jazz arrangements”. They are in no way just “swinging around” some popular classical tunes, but rather deep and thought-through compositions in which at times it would take an expert to actually identify and appreciate the original source…”   (Vladimir Mak on  #43 2006)

Group members:


Uri Brener, piano, arrangementsthe founder of the “Tabula Rasa”

During last decade Uri has dedicated many of his public concert appearances, beside his own music, to free improvisation and to crossover music, bringing together elements of classical music, folk and jazz, leading a series of concerts at the Bar-Ilan University under the name “Fujazz” and performing with many renown musicians and artists such as Arkady Shilkloper, Anton Dressler, Shlomo Deshet, Sergei Ostrovsky,  Pavel Vernikov, Arkady Gottesman, Elias Faingersh and many others.
On the basis of this activity, Uri founded in 2004  the “Tabula Rasa”, which has been performing with a great success around the country and abroad.
In 2005 Uri initiated a project together with Mr. Arkady Shilkloper, a renown jazz horn player, who on this occasion was for the first time visiting Israel as a soloist, during which concerts, broadcasts and recordings in Israel took place in cooperation with the “Tabula Rasa” group.
In the fall 2007 Uri has been invited by Mr. Schilkloper for a joint performance at  the London Jazz Festival in the famous Purcell Room ( Southbank Centre, London).

shlomo deshet

Shlomo Deshet, drums, percussion, musician well known in Israel and outside its borders, especially as a member of the “ESTA” group that focuses on world-, jazz- and rock music, in which he has been participating now for over 20 years, appearing in the most prestigious concert halls around the world including United States, Europe and Scandinavia.
Mr.Deshet has performed with leading artists like Giora Feidman, Minu Sinelu from “Whether Report” and many others. In recent years he also became active as a sound engineer  and  producer.
He joined the “Tabula Rasa” group right from its foundation and is also a producer of the CD called “Third Hemisphere” that has been recorded 2004 year by the “Treasure Productions” label featuring also as a drummer in the best of the “Tabula Rasa”`s  repertoire.

Shai Cohen

 Shai Cohen, reeds,  was born on January 28th, 1968, in Haifa. Upon completion of his high-school studies he started studying practical electronic engineering and graduate teaching degree from Technion Haifa  (1989). In 1992 he began to study jazz performance and composition at the Rubin Academy for Music and Dance, Jerusalem. Among his teachers were Slava Ganelin, Boris Gammer and Ari Ben Shabetai.
Shai Cohen completed his studies at the academy of music in 1995 and establishes Nagler Haifa jazz big-band. In 1996 he become staff member of  Yagur high school music department, and a lead teacher of the jazz music studies.
Between 1997-2004 Shai become musical director at kibbutz Afeq, music teacher in Reout school of art, conductor and musical arranger of Zvulun local council and conductor and musical arranger of  Tivon jazz big band.
In 2003 he graduate M.A in composition Bar-Ilan University and nowadays he is a Student for P.H.D in composition at Bar-Ilan University, Israel with Doctor Gideon Lewensohn and Doctor Betty Olivero.
Shai Cohen composes symphonic music, chamber music, electronic music, and music for solo instruments. From 2003 he has been a lecturer at the Department of Music in Bar-Ilan University.  He is currently a chairman of the Israel Composers` League.


Edmond Gilmore, electric and acoustic bass player. Began his academic studying on the electric bass under Mr. Arie Volnitz and Mr. Alon Nadel, in Rimon School of contemporary music (1992). Later he continued his education in the New-York under the guidance of Mr, Jeff Andrews (1997). With his return to Israel he started his studying in the RubinJerusalemMusic & DanceAcademy both in the String department under Mr. Michael Klinghoffer, and in the jazz department under Mr. Jean Claude Jones. Since then he performed with leading orchestras in Israel such as the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra and the Rishon-Lezion Symphony Orchestra, alongside performances with leading jazz artists like Bob Moses (drums, USA), Boris Gamer, Steve Paskoff and Edmond’s own Fusion ensemble ‘Shazam’. Recently, he participated in the musical ‘Chicago’ under the musical direction of Mr. Eldad Shreme. Edmond Specializes in virtuosic electric bass slap technique which he has developed also as a methodology. In addition Edmond is working on Classical solo repertoire on the acoustic Bass and performs with it in Israel and abroad.


Tabula Rasa cooperated with many artists from all arias of musical scene –jazz and fusion musicians, classical and avant-garde musicians, even painters and actors.  As a result of these multiple collaborations, the group has many various programs on the list, some of them listed below with online examples.

 “Third Hemisphere”

In cooperation with :
Ilja Skibinsky (alto sax), Anton Dressler (clarinet), Sergey Ostrovsky  (violin)

Third Hemisphere

A double CD containing different kinds of non-standard treatments of many iconic classical pieces (as jazz, fusion, free improvisation, “free reading” etc..) arranged and produced by Uri Brener and performed by the Tabula Rasa group in 2005. Includes works by Bartok, Ravel, Shostakovich, Scriabin, Stravinsky and more.


“Ostinato” by B. Bartok

“Bulgarian rhythm” by B. Bartok

A.Scriabin Prelude 15 op.11 

I. Stravinsky  “L’histoire du Soldat” SCENE 5 




 The program  performed,  called  “Bridges”,  is an improvisational  platform  based  on pieces by  Bartok,  Scriabin,  Shostakovich  and  ancient   music   from   the   XII – XIII  century, serving   as   starting    point   for  the  musical dialogue    and   interpretation  by   musicians, each   one  of  which  is  equally  well   trained as    a   classical   and   as   a   jazz   performer. This   creates   a   unique   opportunity for generating an unforgettable musical event,  thus transforming the public from passive listeners to creative co – producers.


“Ostinato” by B. Bartok 

“Ostinato” by B. Bartok (version 2)

“Bulgarian rhythm” by B. Bartok  

“Small Kanon” by B.Bartok

“Pasification” by Alexander Aisenstadt – “Tabula 5”

Variety Jam”

Alexander Scriabin – Prelude 9 op.11 

“Scriabin Blues” 

“Bel m`es qu`ieu chant” (XIII century chant)

 “Pavane for a Dead Princess” M.Ravel 


“Waterfall of wisdom”

(cooperation with Arkady Gottesman)

Tabula-Rasa0no revah

The program is an outcome of the cooperation with a brilliant Lithuanian percussionist and drummer Arkady Gottesman. Few samples below were recorded during the live session at the Mishkenot Musical Studio Centre in Jerusalem in 2007, that was attended by the public.


 “Japanese Song” by Shai Cohen

“The Gust”

At the Waterfall of Wisdom” 

“Forgotten Dances” 

Bells Of My Memory 


Cooperation with Arkady Shilkloper:  



“Small Kanon” by B.Bartok

 “Cobra” by Arkady Shilkloper

“Bel m`es qu`ieu chant – Cantaben”
(two troubadour chants from the XII -XIII centuries)

“Bulgarian rhythm” by B. Bartok

 “Cobra” by Arkady Shilkloper (version 2)

“Bel m`es qu`ieu chant – Cantaben” (version 2)


Cooperation with Arkady Freeman and Elias Faingersh:  


Jazz Globe Festival, 2006, Jerusalem (fragment)


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