Jake Marmer: Hermeneutic Stomp (2013)
On his debut album, released on the new label of the Jewish Currents magazine, Marmer is assisted by a stellar cast of unorthodox, musically speaking, Jewish musicianstrumpeter Frank London from The Klezmatics, saxophonist Greg Wall from Hasidic New Wave, guitarist Eyal Maoz from Edom and Uri Sharlin from Pharaoh's Daughter. All four revolutionized Jewish music in the last two decades and expanded its horizons. The three are excellent partners to Marmer. They energize Marmer's delivery of the texts, intensify his sense of humor, irony, and his playful re-readings of traditional, supposedly sacred texts.
Marmers' open and curious perspective sketches more questions then offers a comfort in belief. And if you are need of answers, Rabbis alone will not be enough. Rahsaan Roland Kirk on "Facts" or Blind Lemon Jefferson on "Mishna of Vision"' may have more immediate and articulate suggestions. On "Mishna of Loneliness" the thirst for divine presence is compared to "a whole decontextualized orchestra racing like goats through fog."
Most of the music tends to be free, improvised in the studio. Klezmer music is used only in an ironic manner on "Klezmer Bulldog" as a loose image of East-European nomadic musician life, almost documented "on the cover of DownBeat Magazine." "Root-note Nign" is only an abstraction of the traditional nign, sketched with abstract, atmospheric sounds. "Amphibian Niggun" is a contemplative blues about the experience of being a new comer to New York while on "3 AM" Nign" portrays a a touching family moment, with the imaginative, effects- laden playing of Maoz."Rachmonos Blues" (mercy blues), composed by Israel double bassist Jean Claude Jones features Maoz, London, Wall, Sharlin, and Marmer on a soulful, gritty blues jam. The chaotic, distorted soundscape of "Mishna of Silence" contrast the conclusion of this poem that "the improvised silence, drawn from your helpless inarticulate insides is also a prayer."
Thought provoking and inspired debut.
Track Listing: Forefather; Bathhouse of Dreams; Facts; Mishnah of Visions; Klezmer Bulldog; Rachmonos Blues; Mishnah of Loneliness; Mishnah of Silence; Root Note Nigun; Laws of Dream Cooking; Winter Sketch; Dealings; Amphibian Nigun; 3 AM Nign; 3 AM Nign (alternate take); Mishnah of Loneliness (alternate take).
Personnel: Jake Marmer: vocals, poetry; Greg Wall: saxophone, clarinet; Frank London: trumpet; Uri Sharlin: keyboards; Eyal Maoz: guitar.
Record Label: Blue Thread Music