Sefi Zisling, releases third album ‘The Librarian’

Renowned jazz and funk trumpeter Sefi Zisling presents his third album ‘The Librarian’, blending classic elements with psychedelic funk, soul, and spiritual jazz. ‘The Librarian’ is dedicated to all things close to Sefi’s heart. Featuring the single “Brothers” and a cover of Mal Waldron’s “All Alone”, he pays homage to his musical inspirations, his wife, friends, and Eyad, a Palestinian whose story moved Sefi.

Listen to ‘The Librarian’, released on black vinyl and digital HERE

“This album was made as an ode to the people I love, and I would like to dedicate this album to them.

I chose this title because I am this librarian. That is how I consume and enjoy music, the way I remember and catalogue in my mind… all the way to my vinyl collection. So this tune and the whole album are full of references and memory “postcards” from my library of things I love to listen to and play.” Sefi explains.

The cover art for ‘The Librarian’ is a painting by the late Walid Abu Shakra, a member of the Abu Shakra family who have collectively played a pivotal role in the Palestinian-Israeli art scene and are respected worldwide. Walid aimed to highlight the expropriation of Palestinian land by the Israeli state and centred his artistic career on safeguarding a disappearing landscape through his monochromatic etchings. When attending an exhibit, Sefi was drawn to the views from his childhood, particularly Walid’s portrayal in acrylic, with 70s geometric forms with bright colours. After exchanging numbers with the family and working with designer Paul H.Um, the piece was transformed into the cover art .

The LP opens with the title track “The Librarian”, drawing inspiration from Bennie Maupin’s enchanting album ‘The Jewel in the Lotus’. Sefi was experimenting with writing a piece that contained contrasting parts, which is carried through the juxtaposing delicacy of the floating melodies over a dense, free-form background. Continuing the personal theme, “Layla” takes the listener on a journey through infinite and ever-changing scenery. The “full, rich and lively” instrumentation is a reflection of Sefi’s wife through his eyes. “No doubt I’m a lucky man,” he adds.

“Song for Eyad” is dedicated to a beautiful and innocent soul, Eyad al-Hallaq, a 31-year-old autistic Palestinian from East Jerusalem. On May 20th, 2020, while walking with his teacher to his daycare centre for individuals with special needs, Eyad encountered an IDF checkpoint. As Eyad became panicked and fled in his confusion, a border police officer opened fire. In one of the last images captured of Eyad, he is seen holding a succulent plant, which is used as a symbol on the back of the LP, commemorating his tragic loss. The song serves as a reminder for us to conduct ourselves with humanity and love.

A friend for life, Zack is “a music lover in the highest form,” Sefi explains. Zack played a huge part in Sefi’s journey as an artist, with endless recommendations and teachings. DJing together frequently, Sefi wanted to show thanks for his support with “Fortune Song (For Zack)” which shares their love of Yusef Lateef and musical ballads.

Yusef Lateef’s influence is present throughout the album, inspiring Sefi to depart from his usual ensemble-driven style and embrace a jazz-infused intimacy reminiscent of Lateef’s quintet recordings. With a smaller band, Zisling crafts a warmer, more personal atmosphere rooted in traditional jazz instrumentation like upright bass and piano, with the funkier, electronic-leaning exception of “Brothers”. Recorded live in 2021 with his quartet Noam Havkin, Tom Bollig, Omri Shani, and trombonist Yair Slutzki, ‘The Librarian’ epitomises Zisling’s evolution as a composer and performer, showcasing his most personal work yet.