"Yoron Israel's recently released CD, "Visions: The Music Of Stevie Wonder" is unique in that it is a rework of Stevie Wonder's music, but as Israel hears it. He says this is always the way he heard Wonder's music, and he has put it into a form where we can share and enjoy his concept with him. Musically sound and full of innovations, I really enjoyed his approach to making the music in the form of jazz. Israel states that Wonder, in his opinion, was always a Jazz composer even if his music was more mainstream R&B. Leading his band from the drummer's position is amazing, and his playing is consistent and fabulous. Always making his presence heard and felt, Israel's abilities are reminiscent of the late great Art Blakey. "Visions" with spoken word is bad to the bone with perfect balance, and the spoken word adds an interesting touch. The musicians backing Israel up do a tremendous job in their playing as well, exploring the works of one of the greatest American artists to ever preform. The amount of love and respect for Wonder's music comes pouring out song after song on the CD. I did not mention other songs because I liked them all so much that I could write a review of each one and I'm sure you'd rather hear the music than to read my writing. I almost wanted to do just that, but I instead recommend you get this CD and listen for yourself. Trust me, it's a journey of discovery that you won't soon forget. The 10 track CD is interesting in another way, that being the fact that Israel doesn't just choose the most recognizable of Stevie Wonder's songs, but reaches deep and conceptualizes some of those that are lesser known. "You Are The Sunshine Of my Life" is an exception of course, and I can clearly hear what Israel means when he says Wonder's music has always been composed for jazz. This is one classy CD with wonderful renditions that will make you smile inside and out. This CD is a big winner for fans of jazz and R&B, and I highly recommend it."
Michele Wilson-Morris, Indie Artist Radio, 1/8/13



Yoron Israel High & Standards - VISIONS: "Any CD that has a drummer in front of it is bound to be "on time"... Yoron's tribute to Stevie Wonder's music is wonderful in many ways! He assembles some great players, as you can see on the player list, & when they tackle tunes like "Bird of Beauty", you know they "mean what they're playing". 10 absolutely solid sonic visions for your ears to absorb and thrill to. The superb drum/bell work on "Contusion" is without equal in my listens this year & gets my vote as favorite cut on this CD. I'm not always thoroughly enchanted with tribute works, but this one is an exception - you'll love it, I'm sure. I give it a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, with an "EQ" (energy quotient) rating of 4.98. Get more information at www.yoronisrael.com
Rotcod Zzaj, Improvijazzation Nation



"Yoron Israel's recently released CD, "Visions: The Music Of Stevie Wonder" is unique in that it is a rework of Stevie Wonder's music, but as Israel hears it. He says this is always the way he heard Wonder's music, and he has put it into a form where we can share and enjoy his concept with him. Musically sound and full of innovations, I really enjoyed his approach to making the music in the form of jazz. Israel states that Wonder, in his opinion, was always a Jazz composer even if his music was more mainstream R&B. Leading his band from the drummer's position is amazing, and his playing is consistent and fabulous. Always making his presence heard and felt, Israel's abilities are reminiscent of the late great Art Blakey. "Visions" with spoken word is bad to the bone with perfect balance, and the spoken word adds an interesting touch. The musicians backing Israel up do a tremendous job in their playing as well, exploring the works of one of the greatest American artists to ever perform. The amount of love and respect for Wonder's music comes pouring out song after song on the CD. I did not mention other songs because I liked them all so much that I could write a review of each one and I'm sure you'd rather hear the music than to read my writing. I almost wanted to do just that, but I instead recommend you get this CD and listen for yourself. Trust me, it's a journey of discovery that you won't soon forget. The 10 track CD is interesting in another way, that being the fact that Israel doesn't just choose the most recognizable of Stevie Wonder's songs, but reaches deep and conceptualizes some of those that are lesser known. "You Are The Sunshine Of my Life" is an exception of course, and I can clearly hear what Israel means when he says Wonder's music has always been composed for jazz. This is one classy CD with wonderful renditions that will make you smile inside and out. This CD is a big winner for fans of jazz and R&B, and I highly recommend it."
Charles Smith, The Entertainment Bank



"For me, when a jazz artist does a tribute to someone, it always seems like that is the highest of honors. It's an unspoken "thank you" from one creator to another of art, being able to say "this is what your music has done for me, now I'm going to give it back to you, playfully". This is what drummer Yoron Israel and his group, High Standards, do with the Stevie Wonder tribute called Visions (Ronja Music). It's always great to hear Wonder's music taken to new places, as it can be a time to revisit the song and/or memories one may associate with the songs, and what songs they are. They include "Creepin'", "Passionate Raindrops", "Bird Of Beauty", "Another Star", "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life", and "All In Love Is Fair", one of my all time favorite Wonder tracks. With help from bassist Ron Mahdi, pianist Lazlo Gardony, saxophonist Lance Bryant, and guitarist Thaddeus Bogarth, along with Larry Roland (who does spoken word performances in the two versions of the title track), it's not only a tribute and acknowledgment, but almost like a church service, a sermon, a prayer, and just something that, again, is simply unspoken but communicated beautifully in music. Even if you know Wonder's music inside and out, you have to hear this.
This Is Book's Music



"The classic R&B tunes of Stevie Wonder are an excellent source of program material. "Visions" includes ten Wonder classics arranged by drummer Yoron Israel with lots of jazzy improvisation. He deploys a fine team of musicians to perform centered around pianist Lazlo Gardony, saxophonist Lance Bryant and bassist Ron Mahdi. The arrangements are distinct but not too distant rendering fresh versions of "Another Star", "Contusion", "Visions" and "Creepin'" that should make Stevie proud."
D. Oscar Groomes, O's Place Jazz Magazine



"Israel belongs to the select group of drummers, Art Blakey, Max Roach, Paul Motian and Ronald Shannon Jackson among them - who approach bandleading with fresh and distinctive vision. In both his playing and his writing he avoids clutter, and he has succeeded in creating a band very much in his own image; embracing traditional values without aping past designs. It has a spare, concise quality even at its busiest."
Neil Tesser, Chicago Reader



"Yoron Israel's new CD, A Gift For You is a sparkling creative musical offering from a fine young drummer who has good taste, a sense of direction and a feeling of joy in his drumming, compositions and arrangements. Yoron Israel, in my mind, is an important voice you should listen to."
Jack DeJohnette



"From Abbey Lincoln to Sonny Rollins to Atilla Zoller, Yoron Israel and his traps have been welcome on diverse bandstands. He's one of these MVP drummers, capable of driving a large ensemble, coaxing a piano trio,nursing a vocalist, or slashing and bashing a smokin' quintet."
Willard Jenkins, JazzTimes



"Masterful music by some of today's most promising musicians. A good balance of very interesting material. Yoron Israel demonstrates admirably his special ability as a drummer, composer and band leader. Unwilling to simply blend in the with the rhythmic undergirding on his auspicious debut as a leader, Israel drives this tasty set from the drum seat. He prods his bandmates with rich sonorities, jaunty ride rhythms and numerous thrilling solos. He scampers through the bop-charged "Gavriel's Dance", skitters and chatters out the beat on the rousing "O.H.!" and sparks the full swing of "The Move" with an invigorating drum intro."
Dan Ovelette, Downbeat



"Israel is an excellent, tasteful drummer, a young Max Roach in the making. His wry and never hammy rhythmic asides and crisply delivered solos had the happy groundings clapping madly."
Owen McNally, The Hartford Courant



Yoron Israel has organized a quintet he calls the "Connection," with guitarist Ed Cherry and vibist Bryan Carrot that can do no better than reflect the lean, driving forcefulness of the leader."
Gary Giddins, The Village Voice



"One of the metropolitan area's top young jazz drummer-percussionists."
George Kanzler, The Star-Ledger



This well-deserved debut as a leader allows Yoron ample feature time and furthers his promise as a composer. With his impressive facility, smooth swing, exquisite brushwork, masterly shading, and wellspring of ideas, Yoron is proving to be one of the jazz drumming world's finest "new" faces of the '90s."
Jeff Potter, Modern Drummer



"...displays deft stick and brush work in a straight ahead bebop context...doesn't overpower the listener with chops or idiomatic point of view (though it's lacking in neither)."
Gene Kalbacher, Hot House



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