Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Peep Mail

Naftali writes:
I keep forgetting to send you this peep.  This one happens all the time with minor variations. The family member that is singing at the chupa.  He comes over to rehearse during the Shmorg/Kabalas Panim (even though I am there 2 hours before the wedding with plenty of time).  Takes a few minutes to choose the key for each song.  We then practice the 2 bar intro I will give him to prompt him on his chosen key.  At the chupa all is going according to plan - or so it seems!  I play the intro...and then horror of horrors!...he starts singing in a totally different key!

I'm pretty sure we met this peep in the past, but it's always good to check in with our old friends.

Office/Sideman Relationships Questions

Interested in hearing thoughts on the following scenarios...

1) An office hires a musician to lead a gig... then a day or two beforehand, when they send out the gig information, the band size has grown and another additional musician is now the leader.

2) An office books a gig for 6 hours, say 6-12. The gig runs 5 hours. Do they need to pay the musicians for six hours?

3) An office gives a musician a gig in a specific time/venue, then switches venues  for the dates (putting the musician on another gig) from the original one half hour away (or less)  to one an hour + away.

4) A musician is requested on a gig. The office books that musician for the gig without mentioning that they were specifically requested.

In all of these cases, what (if anything) is the office's obligation? How would you deal with these?

Here's how I would deal with them.

1) I usually lead my own gigs, but in the cases where I give someone a sub-lead, I pay them the promised amount, even if staffing changes.

2) I pay the musicians for the amount of time booked. I tell them in advance, and if the gig is under time, we all benefit.

3) I'd never do this without talking to the musicians involved and getting their agreement.

4) I'd tell them they were requested.

How would you address these situations?

No Hope For The Informers!

Go here. Click on "The Music Box" in the top right hand corner. Then select track 2 - "V'lamalshinim".  Trust me on this one!

Shlock Rock On Broadway

Lenny Solomon has launched a Kickstarter campaign for Daniel in Babylon - A New Musical!.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Whose The Thief?

This report raises some interesting questions...


What would the Chazon Ish say? Incidentally, it is highly unlikely that the Chazon Ish composed the song.

More on that here.

Itzhak Perlman and Cantor Yitzchak Meir Helfgot

Here's a preview of the forthcoming recording.

WSJ Discovers The Wheel

The title says it all: At Some Happy Events, 'Hava Nagila' Isn't Invited

Sadly, they missed an opportunity to explain the "Freyg Nisht" scale.

"Beat It"? That's The Best You Could Do, Adam?

The Jewish Week reports about Rabbi Greg Wall leaving Sixth Street Synagogue in "East Village’s Musician Rabbi To ‘Beat’ It."

Oy, Adam! He's a jazz/Jewish musician, not a pop star. Even "Hit The Road" would be more on target.

The loss of the space and community Greg built around Jewish arts is disappointing. Hopefully, he'll find a better-suited venue to continue inspiring both Jewish literacy and Jewish arts.

Post-Haste Videos

New Zorn Book of Angels CD out.

This one features Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz on gimbri. Nice! Check it!

 While we're videoing... Here's a music video, "Yonatan Hakatan" by "Cham Umechamem".


Friday, July 27, 2012

Happy Holiday to my Yekke Friends!

I know you guys look forward to this all year...

Eli Tzion sung by Rona Keinon (w/ a melodica solo too.)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

We've Got Ruach, How About You?

From the mailbag...

Yehoshua writes:
I am looking to buy/download old Ruach albums (Ira Silver/Shmoo Klaver) and I ended up on your blog through google. Do you know of anywhere that they are available?
Thanks in advance.
Anyone know if these are available?

Rock the Casbah!

A clever solution to Mosque speakers aimed at a Jewish neighborhood.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Digression on the History of Jews and Black Music

Here's a track from "trombonik" Jacob Garchik's new project. Whole lotta multi-tracked horns. All played by Jacob. Sweet! Here it is. Digression on the History of Jews and Black Music

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Gear Review: Boss FV-500L Volume/Expression Pedal

I've been using a Roland EV5 expression pedal for the past few years. It's worked fine with my Roland boards, and when I switched to Kurzweil, it worked ok with them too.

Recently, the wire on my pedal (which is hard-wired to the pedal) started to fray, and instead of rewiring the pedal, I decided to look at other options. After reading that one of the techs who sets up Kurzweil setups for Broadway specs the Boss FV-500L pedal for all his setups, and has never had one fail, I decided to check it out. I haven't spent too much time with it yet, but so far, I love it!

 This pedal is a huge improvement over the Roland. Here's what I like about it.

1) The throw is great, with a wider sweep than the Roland.
2) The resistance is adjustable.
3) The feel is great.
4) Solid build. Its metal instead of plastic.
5) Can be used as an audio volume pedal as well as an expression pedal.
6) The larger size and rubber grip means my foot doesn't slip off.
7) It's heavier, so the pedal doesn't slide around. It stays in one place.
8) It uses a separate cable, instead of a built-in wire, so you can easily swap out cables if one starts to go. (The Roland cable is permanently wired to the pedal, so if there's an issue, you can't just swap it out.)

The feature set includes stereo in/outs, an expression pedal out, a tuner out (to send your guitar signal to an external tuner), and a min/max adjustable volume pot.

The only issue I notice with it, is that when the pedal reaches the end of the throw, the sound of the pedal hitting the rubber stop is louder than I wish it would be. This is not an issue for live playing at stage volumes, so much as for practicing at moderate volume, where it can be distracting. It seems like it should be possible to put a very thin pad in to solve this problem without impeding the full range of the pedal. (I tested this quickly with a folded paper towel, and the noise was almost entirely gone.)  I'll see what kind of more permanent fix I can devise.

 If you're looking for an expression pedal for your keyboard, (or a volume pedal for your guitar) you might want to give this one a look.

 Amazon has it here:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

What Is Freygish?

Musicologists, klezmer musicians, and J-music bloggers will try to fool you into thinking it's a unique scale and not just a mode of harmonic minor. That's just a story.

The real truth is that the term was popularized by a now-forgotton American clarinet player who once approached legendary klezmer clarinetist Naftule Brandwein to ask about the scale. "Freyg Nisht", the notoriously secretive Brandwein replied. Not understanding Yiddish, the hapless American took that as the name and shared his corrupted pronunciation of it, "Freygish" with all who asked. And that's why American club date musicians call it "Freygish. #DoIReallyHaveToLabelThisOne?

Apparently, I do have to label this one. It's fiction, folks. follow the link for more info about Freygish.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Music Video Monday

So the Grogger's lead singer is moving west...

And while we're sharing music videos... here's an oldie, but goodie... SoCalled and Theo Bikel rock Belz!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

From The Mailbag...

Gil writes:
Speaking of "Peeps"...How about the singer who checks his e-mail while performing? I recently saw it repeatedly at a wedding.

Joi writes:

I’m composing some Jewish ‘folk’ music with a Klezmer flavor. What’s a good piano rhythm pattern for the left hand to get a sense of the dance-like qualities of Klezmer? – My tendency is to fall into a latin rhythm, which I don’t want. Thanks for your ideas.
I'd suggest listening to a lot of klezmer, and copping those rhythms. There are also some published piano arrangements like the Kammen folios and even the New York Times' "Great Songs of the Yiddish Theater" that would be good references to check out for sample piano accompaniments. However, there is no shortcut for listening to the music, and checking out how it was/is played by the pros.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

I Hope He Was Paid Well For This...

Some lyrics shouldn't be re-used.

No Hora!

Gary Sernovitz does not want to dance the hora at his wedding. Oh, but he will. Bwahahaha!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Not To "Veyn"

Poor-quality video of Guns N' Roses performing Hatikvah and "Don't Cry" in Tel Aviv. Updated: Corrected G'N'R song title. Thanks, Leon!

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Still More Peeps...

"The Loser"

This peep is an interesting one. Someone will come over to the bandstand with a pair of car keys. A few minutes later, the "Loser" is there to claim them. A bit later, a cell phone is turned in to the bandstand. Guess who it beings to? That's right! The "Loser" is soon back to claim it too. A little later, he's back asking if anyone turned in a wallet...

"At Least He Goes To Minyan"

This peep breaks his teeth on the bracha he's honored with at Sheva Brachos. When he gets to the end, he confidently finishes it off "... Yotzer Hame'oros."

"The Repeater"

This scintillating character is invited to speak. Invariably he (for some reason, this offender is always male) will say something like "the next part of my speech was said twice already, but since no one listens to speeches, I can say it again." Then, he'll repeat a Torah thought that has already been shared by a previous speaker or two. For extra credit, he may point this out again after he speaks, as in "maybe you'll hear that thought another six times tonight, if you listen to the rest of the speeches."