At the 12th Annual Hollywood Music in Media Awards (2021), Israeli Jazz musician Kobi Arad received an award in the Independent Music Artist – Jazz category for his cover of “Bemsha Swing,” the jazz standard made famous by Thelonious Monk. It was his most recent award win after his previous wins at the Global Music Awards in 2018, 2019, and 2020, and Independent Music Awards for Jazz Instrumental Album in 2019 (for his album ‘Segments’).
Prior to his work in the United States, Arad made a name for himself in the Israeli music scene, getting airplay on Zmira Luzky’s radio show on the national radio channel KolHalmusica. After immigrating to the United States, he made the most of new opportunities, collaborating with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Roy Ayers, Brent Fischer, Robert Margouleff, Cindy Blackman, John DeJohnette, and Lenny Kravitz. He has released more than 30 independent albums and performed at live venues such as Blue Note NYC, the Lincoln Center, and the Knitting Factory.
Arad’s output has been particularly impressive in the midst of the global pandemic. He has continued releasing albums such as Seeing the Voices, Intonation, and Levitical Jazz in 2019 and Worlds in 2020. His work ethic has paid dividends in a three year streak of award wins at the Global Music Awards.
Arad’s accomplishments are also admirable in light of his background as a musician representing Israel in the United States. He was recently awarded a green card based on extraordinary ability in music, which was bolstered by his impressive accomplishments and notable musical collaborations.
After receiving his award, Arad commented, “I couldn’t believe it. I felt it was a cosmic thing since I didn’t make any tangible effort to get votes. My feelings were a mix of not processing it, immense happiness, and feeling honored and blessed.”