Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

380

Reuben Hoch and the Chassidic Jazz Project: Live at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts

By

Sign in to view read count
There is no doubt that Jews have contributed as much to the evolution of jazz as any ethnic group. A short list of great Jewish jazz musicians would include Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Stan Getz, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, and Paul Desmond. Jews have made some great contributions to jazz in other ways as well. Blue Note founders Alfred Lion and Frank Wolff were both Jewish, just like Leonard Feather and Nat Hentoff. And then, of course, there’s yours truly.

But while Jews have been playing, producing, and writing about jazz for almost as long as jazz has been an art form, jazz itself is rooted in African-American culture. This is not to say that Jews like Goodman and Getz did not made the music they played their own, but ultimately jazz is and has been an African-American form. It is only comparatively recently, through the work of John Zorn and his Tzadik label, that Jewish music has been fused with (largely avant-garde) jazz.

The Chassidic Jazz Project is trying to take it one step further.

Drummer Reuben Hoch is jazz musician. He is also a Jew. In 1998 he and a group of like-minded musicians set out to create music that would fuse jazz and traditional Chassidic music in new and exciting ways. For those not in the know, the Chassidic movement was founded in Eastern Europe around 1736 by Israel Ba'al Shem Tov. While most people today associate the Chassidim with the ultra-orthodox sect of Judaism (characterized by somber black clothing, wide-brimmed hats, and forelocks), the movement founded by Ba’al Shem Tov was religiously ecstatic, emphasizing a deeply personal connection between man and God. This was often done through celebration, dancing, and – of course – music. Chassidic music is often vigorous and celebratory. It is also deeply soulful, touching the spirit in an amazingly profound way. It is no exaggeration to say that Chassidic music is as uplifting as the gospel of Mahalia Jackson, and as reflective as the deep Mississippi Delta Blues.

It should come as no surprise, then, that Chassidic music lends itself superbly to jazz interpretation. This debut recording by the Chassidic Jazz Project is magnificent, containing some truly astonishing performances by a group of musicians that, I must admit, were largely unfamiliar to me. Each track is outstanding, capturing a group in full swing. From the joyous opening track, “Avinu Malkeinu,” to pianist Don Friedman’s two astonishing feature tracks (a breathtakingly lovely reading of “Shalom Aleichem” and an upbeat version of “Shabbat Shalom,” which is transformed in Friedman’s hands), each performance is a winner. Hoch himself drives the show from his drum kit, while Felipe Lamoglia’s tenor and soprano saxophones leave no doubt that this is jazz of the highest order. Live at the Broward Center comes highly recommended as a unique blend of two distinctive musical traditions. After the Chassidic Jazz Project, neither tradition will be the same.


Track Listing: Avinu Malkeninu; Keli Atoh; Adon Olam Medley; Shalom Aleichem; Shabbat Shalom; Bilvavi; Crackow Nigun.

Personnel: Reuben Hoch, drums; Tom Lippincott, guitars; Felipe Lamoglia, tenor & soprano saxophones; Marie Randel, viola & violin; Barbra Corcillo, cello; Dan Feiszli, bass; Bobby Thomas Jr., percussion; Don Friedman, piano (Shalom Aleichem & Shabbat Shalom).

Title: Live at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: RH Factor Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House CD/LP/Track Review Not Nearly Enough To Buy A House
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Journey to a New World CD/LP/Track Review Journey to a New World
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Disappeared Behind the Sun CD/LP/Track Review Disappeared Behind the Sun
by John Sharpe
Published: January 21, 2018
Read 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert CD/LP/Track Review 2018 Neujahrskonzert New Year’s Concert
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Lux CD/LP/Track Review Lux
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Unleashed CD/LP/Track Review Unleashed
by John Sharpe
Published: January 20, 2018
Read "Signals" CD/LP/Track Review Signals
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 13, 2017
Read "Vintage Christmas Trio" CD/LP/Track Review Vintage Christmas Trio
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 3, 2017
Read "Golan/Al Joulan Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Golan/Al Joulan Vol. 2
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "Ljubljana" CD/LP/Track Review Ljubljana
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 6, 2017
Read "Les Deux Versants Se Regardent" CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "June" CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017