Relaxin’ with Chuck

| Updated on April 13, 2021

In 2009 I invited the great bassist, composer and arranger Chuck Israels for a series of concerts and masterclasses in Israel. 

Playing with Chuck Israels was a wonderful and inspiring experience. It was a first-time encounter with the great bassist and despite the differences in our backgrounds, life and cultural backgrounds, the musical connection was almost instant and we quickly became friends.

We did a tour around the country with concerts at clubs and workshops at music schools. It was a memorable experience.

At the end of the tour, we played a trio gig at the club called Milestone, an hour drive north of Tel Aviv. We played a nice set of standards and the playing was spontaneous, adventurous really swinging and relaxed. Yonatan Rosen played drums and all three of us had much fun. There was a great vibe and the audience was very warm and supportive.

Relaxin’ at Camarillo

One of the tunes we had played that evening was Relaxin’ At Camarillo by Charlie Parker. I really love this tune and remember listening to a great Tommy Flanagan album Overseas with Elvin Jones and Wilbur Ware. Relaxin’ is on that record and it is a Flanagan masterpiece. He has had recorded it several times and I think some piano players inspired by his version too (Cyrus Chestnut comes to my mind).

Relaxin' at Camarillo Piano Intro

Here is the original trio recording of Relaxin’ at Camarillo with Chuck Israels on bass and Yonatan Rosen on Drums recorded  live at Milestone Club in Shuni, Binyamina (Israel) on October 2009.

Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra

A few years later I received an email from Chuck Israels which had a real thrill for me… You would not believe it, he sent sent me a recording of Relaxin’ At Camarillo he did with his band, The Chuck Israels Orchestra. I was really surprised and flattered. Chuck Israels made an arrangement which was based on my solo on the tune from the performance we did at the Milestone Club. Chuck has transcribed the solo I played and orchestrated it for his Octet. They have rehearsed and recorded it in February 2014. It sounded

The whole composition sounds really beautiful fresh and swinging. Chuck is a true master of orchestral writing and a great leader. The use of individual instruments, the variety of sounds, subtle dynamics has an amazing effect on the whole. It is just another great example of Chuck’s writing. The band sounds amazing.

Here is the recording of  Relaxin’ At Camarillo by Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra arranged by Chuck Israel and recorded on from February 2014:

Live at the Milestone (album)

The music from the recording of  The Trio with Chuck Israels and Yonatan Rosen at The Milestone Jazz Club is available for download here


Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra Event Nov.10 2018

JazzWax Article

An update: May 06 2020 Marc Myers in his famous JazzWax magazine/blog wrote an article on my collaboration with Chuck Israels in 2009-10. Read it here

Photo Gallery


Visit Chuck Israels Jazz Orchestra at

Alec is a jazz pianist, composer, arranger and educator from Tel Aviv. He loves playing, writing, teaching and learning music. Alec has built his website and he loves sharing his knowledge, experience and musical ideas and content.

5 thoughts on “Relaxin’ with Chuck”

  1. Very interesting story. Great playing, you solo is swinging adventurous 🙂 . Chuck Israels arrangement is fantastic, and the band sounds great.

    I am a longtime Chuck Israels fun, has been listening to his recording from the ‘60 with Bill Evans, Eric Dolphy, Herbie Hancock My Point oF View, Stan Getz. Thanks to your post did some research and discovered his orchestral works from the 70’. The National Jazz Ensemble. Superb!

    Keep posting,


  2. To my ears, this Chuck Israels orchestration
    and performance of “Camarillo” seems
    in league ( of vibrant artistic value )
    as the wonderful Hall Overton arrangement
    of a previous Thelonious Monk solo of
    “Little Rootie Tootie,” on Thelonious Monk
    Orchestra at Town Hall, the famous 1959
    Riverside LP. What a gem is this “Camarillo.”
    And “Bird Lives” in this, methinks.

    And the trio number itself ! Katz/Rosen/Israels
    are each and together so swinging, so mutually
    supportive, and so inventive and constantly surprising,
    that the recording just may become part of the permanent
    mental furniture of anyone who hears it. A beauty !


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