is an observant jew, poet, and dedicated scholar of beat poetry, the blues, and jazz legacy. He was born in Ukraine, emigrated to New York with a short time in between in Jerusalem, Israel. His poetry, perceived by himself as a work in progress, borrows colorful images from Jewish Talmudic texts and Chassidic chants, improvised and charged by the accompanying musicians and then spun instantly into reflections and innuendos, even ironic zen riddles, spiced with references to "the endless spinning vinyl, zapped into music by needles of history."
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.
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).
Jake Marmer: vocals, poetry; Greg Wall: saxophone, clarinet; Frank
London: trumpet; Uri Sharlin: keyboards; Eyal Maoz: guitar.