Yale Strom kicks off the Café Jew Zoo festivities with an explanation about the roots of klezmer, as it relates to his vision of New Jewish Music.
The range of music emanates from the DNA of klezmer, which is the melismatic prayer modalities chanted by the ancient Hebrews of the Middle East. We klezmorim today often overlook that Abraham came from Ur in Iraq, and not Uman in Ukraine. Thus, in tunes like "Bonesetter’s Last Dance," "Dorohoi Khusidl," "Hora Din Caval," and "Shakiris," the Middle Eastern tonalities can be easily heard...
I suspect that it does not get any more basic than that. What rolls out on the aural waves of Café Jew Zoo is one of the most intelligent, integrated, and delightful surveys of klezmer that one is likely to encounter. The disc ranges from the traditional vocals of "Birobidzhan" and solo guitar performance of "Hora Din Caval" (beautiful) to the wild and wooly ("The Bonesetter’s Dance" and "Café Jew Zoo"). "The Bonesetters Dance" is klezmer strained through the terministic screen of the 21st century. Strom composed the piece with the appropriate amount of humor and reverence to make it an effective modern klezmer piece. Think of a Jewish Sun Ra.
Yale Strom accomplishes his wish to explore the evolution of klezmer. This Eastern European music is as immediately identifiable as is Piazzola’s tangos. The music is readily danceable and sunny with a tinge of melancholy. Café Jew Zoo makes a splendid introduction to the uninitiated in this Jewish spirit of music making.
Track Listing: Birobidzhan; Hora Din Caval; The Bonesetter's Last Dance; Stoliner Skotshne #1; Imenu
Malketseynu; Dorohoi Khusidl; Cafe Jew Zoo; Shakhres; Yekele The Bonesetter; Stoliner Skotshne
#2; L'Chayim, Comrade Stalin!; Waltz Amur; Ten Plagues.
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith
I've always loved jazz ...my mother was a classical pianist and my aunt was a blues singer, who was managed by Clarence Williams (Bessie Smith's producer). As a young boy, they introduced me to people like Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, and Jimmy Smith. We hung out at my Aunt Kate's Soul Food restaurant in Harlem after the matinees at the Apollo where I listened to their stories. I knew I wanted to be a jazz musician from then on. My mother wanted me to play piano, but my Aunt bought me a guitar. I've been playing ever since.
At my mother's early prompting, I first sang Blue Velvet at my Catholic elementary school...and all the nuns came running in and asked me to sing again, so I knew I must have sounded pretty good. I've been singing ever since.
I met Tony Bennett in Miami and he inspired me to return to New York. He was a great mentor.
The best show I ever attended is mpossible to say, I've seen so many great shows. From Tony Bennett to Pat Martino, Return to Forever to Weather Report...I've seen some great performances.
My advice to new listeners is don't let jazz intimidate you, the music has something for every listener and it is our American gift to the world.