Musical powerhouse in band
He’s served in the Israeli army and performed with Frank Sinatra – now musician Ze’ev Dikvert is launching a big swing band in Tawa.
Dikvert, 73, said he started playing the violin when he was 5 and can now play more than 10 instruments.
‘‘ I had to play so many instruments because somebody told me, ‘ If you wanted to lead a band you need to know the sounds each instrument makes’,’’ he said.
‘‘The truth is I didn’t want to start playing but my mum said I had to.’’
Being Israeli meant Dikvert spent three years in the military as an aircraft engineer.
He said he avoided night-time guard duty by starting his own band to entertain his comrades.
After leaving the army, he started to play in nightclubs and soon joined a South American band to tour Europe.
‘‘ I started to practise six to seven hours a day, another instrument every day,’’ he said.
On returning to Israel, Dikvert performed with some of music’s biggest names.
‘‘I was told I had a rehearsal with Sammy Davis Junior and I started to shake with nerves,’’ he said.
‘‘Frank Sinatra was particularly good to perform with.
‘‘I didn’t like his bodyguards, but he was very nice.
‘‘He remembered every member of the band by name.’’
Now living in Paraparaumu, Dikvert and his wife moved to New Zealand 10 years ago to be closer to their children.
‘‘It was so weird for me to see green mountains because in Israel everything is desert,’’ Dikvert said. ‘‘I fell in love with this country.’’ Dikvert said he would never stop playing music because he loved it so much.
‘‘Music is the thing that I know the best,’’ he said.
‘‘Real musicians die on stage with rhythm.’’
The new Tawa-based big swing band was started in September and has 12 members.
Manager Ric Godenho said the group came together because of their love of big swing music.
He said the band was inspired by musicians such as Benny Goodman, who was known as ‘‘the King of Swing’’.
The band is seeking three trombonists and a trumpet player.
Playing power: Musician Ze’ev Dikvert has started up a big swing band in Tawa.