388

Steps to the Desert & Midrash Mish Mosh

Elliott Simon By

Sign in to view read count
In Swing Era NYC, drummer Shelly Manne's sense of time and melody gained sufficient notice that when bop arrived, he played with both Dizzy and Bird. Stints with the Woody Herman and Stan Kenton bands provided national exposure and in the '50s he took these influences to California and became a linchpin in the new West coast sound.

Shelly Manne
Steps to the Desert
Contemporary Records
2004 (1963)

In 1963, with guitarist Al Viola, bassist Monty Budwig, Shorty Rogers on trumpet, saxophonist Teddy Edwards and pianist/vibraphonist Victor Feldman, Manne released one of only a handful of sessions from that time period to approach Jewish music from a modern jazz perspective.

On this reissue retitled as Steps to the Desert , the context of familiar melodies like "Hava Nagila" and a bop version of "Tzena Tzena" serve as springboards for inventive soloing by these top players. Manne gives both "Zamar Nodad" and the theme from "Exodus" a Latin bossa feel. On the latter, Viola beautifully states the melody providing solo opportunities for Rogers' muted trumpet and Edwards' sax. The powerful arrangements and solos on tunes like the au courant sounding "Bokrei Lachisi" presage further developments that would wait over three decades for fruition.

Fresh from Seattle's thrash/punk scene, drummer Aaron Alexander arrived in NYC to find a new Jewish music emerging as a polyglot crystallization of klezmer, avant-garde, world and modern jazz. As part of the ground breaking Hasidic New Wave he defined this music's funkiest rhythmic edges.

Aaron Alexander
Midrash Mish Mosh
Tzadik
2004

Midrash Mish Mosh includes that band's bassist, Fima Ephron, its leaders, saxophonist Greg Wall and trumpeter Frank London, along with guitarist Brad Shepik, clarinetist Merlin Shepherd, trombonist Curtis Hasselbring, and drummer Mike Sarin.

The result is a driving double drumming delight that remains strongly rooted in Eastern European Jewish music while rejoicing in the variety of assimilated life. "Kleyzmish Moshpit" celebrates a mix of thrash and klezmer as hopped up hasid meets pogoing punker while "Khosidl for the Mixed Marriage" makes use of traditional klezmer rhythms to acknowledge a wonderful union. "Khosn Kalleh Haskalah" and "Yiddishe Kop" feature Shepherd's clarinet and Shepik's electric guitar conversing in a representation of tradition and assimilation over brass voicings for a joyous tribute to the enlightment that can magically happen with all coming together.

A project with newly composed music of expansive scope, Alexander has produced a screaming celebration of the multicultural American Jewish identity. Separated by over 40 years, both these drummer led sessions portray experimentalists making distinctive Jewish musico-cultural statements.


Steps to the Desert

Tracks: 1. Hava Nagila; 2. Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen; 3. Yossel, Yossel; 4. Zamar Nodad; 5. Bokrei Lachish; 6. Tzena; 7. Exodus; 8. Die Greene Koseene; 9. My Yiddishe Momme; 10. Orchah Bamidbar; 11. Zamar Nodad - (single edit); 12. Exodus - (single edit); 13. Tzena - (single edit); 14. Hava Nagila - (single edit);
Personnel: Shelly Manne - Drums, Shorty Rogers - trumpet, flugelhorn on #1, 4, 6, Teddy Edwards - tenor saxophone, Victor Feldman - piano/vibes, Al Viola - guitar, Monty Budwig - bass.

Midrash Mish Mosh

Tracks: 1. Kleyzmish Moshpit; 2. Kaddish for Carmen; 3. Peep Nokh a Mol; 4. Balagan Balaban; 5. Debkavanah; 6. Yiddishe Kop; 7. Khosidl for the Mixed Marriage; 8. der Rumsisker Maggid/Shema; 9. Khosn Kalleh Haskalah.
Personnel: Aaron Alexander - Drums (L), Merlin Shepherd - Clarinet, Greg Wall - Tenor Saxophone/Clarinet on #3, 7, 9, Frank London - Trumpet, Curtis Hasselbring - Trombone/additional Guitar on #1, 5, Brad Shepik - Guitar on all tracks, Fima Ephron - Bass, Mike Sarin - Drums (R), Special guest Randy Crafton - Rik (on #5).


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Blues Deluxe 2 Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe 2
by Doug Collette
Published: June 25, 2017
Read Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient Africa" and Oliver Lake and Joseph Bowie's "Live at A Space 1976" Multiple Reviews Two Sackville Gems: Abdullah Ibraihim's "Ancient...
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: June 2, 2017
Read Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out Multiple Reviews Margrete Grarup: Denmark's jazz secret is out
by Chris Mosey
Published: May 28, 2017
Read Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space Multiple Reviews Tim Motzer: Wandering the Depths of Space
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 22, 2017
Read "Christmas Roundup 2016: Aguankó, Jeff Collins, & Vinnie Zummo" Multiple Reviews Christmas Roundup 2016: Aguankó, Jeff Collins, &...
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 21, 2016
Read "Blues Deluxe 2" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe 2
by Doug Collette
Published: June 25, 2017
Read "Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas" Multiple Reviews Blues Deluxe: Colin James, Matthew Curry and Johnny Nicholas
by Doug Collette
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Cassette Plus Download Labels" Multiple Reviews Cassette Plus Download Labels
by John Eyles
Published: May 3, 2017
Read "Three New Releases from Peter Kuhn" Multiple Reviews Three New Releases from Peter Kuhn
by Dave Wayne
Published: August 4, 2016

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.