Jewish music and jazz get along well together; they have been doing so for years and are perhaps now closer than ever. Jazz musicians use cantorial modes to further their own improvisational explorations, and musicians playing within a klezmer or Sephardic secular tradition include jazz stylings as part of their overall arrangements. Given all this, it is somewhat surprising that few musicians, with David Chevan's Afro-Semitic Experience being the most notable exception, have attempted serious jazz interpretations of Jewish liturgical music. With The Chassidic Jazz Project Live , drummer Reuben Hoch has drawn on both his familiarity with the music and his deep jazz sensibility to add a major work to this genre. In the process, he has highlighted how these traditionally spiritual melodies, when delivered in the right context and with creative arrangements, perfectly lend themselves to uniquely satisfying jazz presentations.
Rabbi Akiba's well known "Avinu Malkenu" is transformed into a driving electric blow out courtesy of Tom Lippincott's guitar, Felipe Lamoglia's tenor sax and Dan Feiszli's bass. "Keli Aton" has LaMoglia and Feiszli soulfully interpreting the Lubavitch melody against a complex Hoch and Bobby Thomas Jr. percussive backdrop. The much recorded and interpreted liturgical piece "Adon Olam" is taken through two if its melodies; the beautifully graceful string interpretation features Lippincott teamed with Barbara Corcillo's elegant cello and violinist/violist Marie Randel and then has its traditional melody "jazzed" up and turned Latin.
Two tracks, "Shalom Aleichem" and "Shabbat Shalom", allow well-known jazz pianist Don Friedman to show that his skillful interpretive touch also translates well to this project's format. A string-based chamber jazz intro to "Bilvavi" gives way to some metrically intriguing drum showmanship that then finds an up-tempo groove as Lamoglia wails on soprano. Hoch's rap about the great Chassidic songsmith Shlomo Carlebach leads into a furious percussive beat that is picked up by the rest of the band, led by Lamoglia, to present Reb Shlomo's "Crackow Nigun" in a decidedly new light. The Chassidic Jazz Project Live adds yet another wonderful chapter to the ever-evolving relationship between jazz and Jewish music.
Personnel: Reuben Hoch-drums, Tom Lippincott-guitars, Felipe Lamoglia-tenor and soprano saxes, Marie Randel-viola & violin, Barbara Corcillo-cello, Dan Feiszli-bass, Bobby Thomas Jr.-percussion, Don Friedman-piano (tracks 4,5)
Year Released: 2004
| Record Label: RH Factor Records
| Style: Modern Jazz
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.