Monday, January 02, 2012

From the mailbag...

Jordan Penkower writes:
I recently found the following on your archive (March 27, 2008)

Shalom writes:


On another topic, and you can edit this for length if you want: I was recently listening to the first Mark 3 album, "The New Jewish Sound", with an ear toward dubbing it to CD so I can listen in the car. [1] This was one of my favourite albums back when I was a kid, playing it on my parents' Voice of Music stereo hi-fi set (ceramic cartridge, three tubes). Even on modern equipment it sounds perhaps a bit primitive by today's standards, but remember this was cut 42 years ago, and it was literally the first of its type: modern JM, as we know it, started here. [2]

I was wondering, though, who exactly played on this record. The only musicians credited are Sy Kushner (accordion), who is or was until recently still in the business; Jordan Penkower (alto), now a professor in Israel; and Benjamin Hulkower (drums), who's now a well-known psychologist in California. There are, however, five other instruments audible on the record: trombone, clarinet, trumpet (or other horn in that approximate range), bass, and electric guitar. None of these are credited. (There is a note that says "Special thanks to Mike Chernick and Jackie Gross", but no indication of what they did, or even if they were musicians in the first place.) I'd guess that there weren't any overdubs, given that all eleven tracks were cut in one day (6/13/66), so they were probably all separate musicians.

Do you, or any of your readers, have any idea of who these sidemen were?

footnotes: [1] Not successful. Of the three copies I was able to lay my hands on, only one was stereo, and all three were worn to some extent. I do have noise reduction software, but it made things worse, given that a trombone's waveform looks like noise to a noise-filter plugin. It would be nice to see this remastered, if anyone can find the master.

[2] Yah, there were folk-type albums like Shlomo Carlebach's first two, chassidish stuff like Nichoach (and the first two Pirchei albums, which were in the same style and probably had the same personnel, if I'm not mistaken), Modzitz, maybe Chazan Dovid Werdyger's Gerer stuff, and maybe a couple of Rudy Tepel wedding albums, but the pop-style, wedding-band-style albums that are so ubiquitous today weren't around yet, at least I'm not familiar with any older ones that have survived. Even the Rabbis' Sons were still a year away from making their first LP, and Neginah's first release wasn't until '71.


I can now answer the above question (and request). In 2009 the original Mark 3 LP (after being re-mastered digitally) was released as a CD, with the original front cover. the back cover was also reproduced - but in a lighter gray, and superimposed on that was a text, AND ALSO A LISTING OF THE ORIGINAL MUSICIANS.

In addition to Ben Hulkower (drums), Sy Kushner (accordian), and Jordan Penkower (alto saxophone), the musicians were: Chizik Epstein (clarinet), Harvey Goldin (tenor sax, clarinet - solo on Mizmor L'Dovid, flute - solo on Dabeir Eilai Bifrachim, piccolo - solo on Omdos), Rick Heckendorn (Bass), Jack Leone (guitar), Hy Simon (trombone).

The singers were: Mike Chernik, Jackie Gross, Monty Penkower.

This CD is available at Nulite Music, Inc. - The New Jewish Sound- The Mark 3 Orchestra and Singers (CD)

In addition, i take this opportunity to inform you that just recently in 2011, the two LPs by Jordan Penkower and The Sterling Sound: (1) The Return to Jerusalem; (2) Jubilation, were remastered digitally, and released as CDs, together with the original front and back covers.

These CDS are available at:

Jordan Penkower And The Sterling Sound | Jubilation | CD Baby

Jordan Penkower and The Sterling Sound | The Return to Jerusalem | CD Baby