Wednesday, February 18, 2009

In Review: Klezmer Juice: Jewfro, Moshe Skier Band:Light Up The World, Rebecca Teplow: Kaveh/Hope, Shmuel Laser:Blues for Temima

Off the review stack...

Klezmer Juice: Jewfro

You have to love someone who's recorded a Matisyahu klezmer tribute album. Amazon has Gustavo Bolgach's "Klezmer Tribute to Matisyahu" here:

Jewfro features Bolgach's arrangements of mostly traditional Klezmer and Israeli chestnuts including Bashana Haba'a, Oseh Shalom, and even Hava Nagila. There are also two original tracks. One of these, "Librescu Tango", is an upbeat number dedicated to the late Liviu Librescu. Librescu, a Holocaust survivor, was the professor at Virginia Tech, who gave his life blocking the door to his classroom when a gunman rampaged on campus, so that his students could escape. I like the idea of dedicating an upbeat number in his memory.

Bolgach's clarinet tone/approach sounds like he's been influenced by Giora Feidman. Think Fiedman after a bissel mashke. Oh, and he's playing for dancers. On this album, Bolgach blends traditional tunes with other musical flavors including boleros and tangos.

Amazon has the album here:

Moshe Skier Band:Light Up The World

This release by the Moshe Skier Band is a mix of new material and some redone older songs, including a Shlock Rock cover or two.

Straight-up Jewish rock in a variety of rock styles. Includes a powerful blues-rock arrangement of Tzomo Lekkho Nafshi, a Floyd-esque arrangement of Carlebach's Nachamu, and Skier's original setting of Aniyah Soara, inspired by Hurricane Katrina.

Definitely worth checking out if you like Jewish rock!

Amazon has the album here:

Rebecca Teplow: Kaveh/Hope

This disc features vocalist Rebecca Teplow singing her own settings of Tehillim. This is an interesting release. Teplow is a sweet, yet powerful singer, who effectively and effortlessly transitions from soft folksy styles to rock. The melodies are pretty and the jazz-inflected pop arrangements are quite tasteful. David Morgan's piano work is especially nice throughout.

Fave tracks include "Nachon Libi", (which features guest beat-boxing and vocals from her son, Joe Teplow), "Gam Ki Elech", "Min Hametzar", and "VaAni", but the whole disc is worth hearing.

I've asked Rebecca to write a guest post on Kol Isha from her perspective as a Modern-Orthodox woman who has released her music to the public at large, not women only, and I hope she will do so.

CD Baby has the album here. Rebecca's website is here.

Shmuel Laser:Blues for Temima

Ran into our old friend, Shmuel Laser, singing on the street in Jerusalem recently. He gave us a copy of his latest, Blues for Temima. The disc features Laser's soulful singing accompanied by some incredible Israeli musicians including pianist Avi Adrian and Yood guitarist Eliezer Blumen.

Shmuel is a terrific singer, who blends Van Morrison-esque blues, rock, and jazz influences tastefully. The musicianship is first rate as well. A true labor of love, this disc of Jewish-themed English songs is worth a listen.

Amazon has the album here: