Thursday, February 19, 2004

Recent Music Purchases

Picked up a bunch of CD's yesterday and listened to two so far.

Ben Perowsky's "Camp Songs" is an eclectic jazzy take on the tunes used for tefilah at the Jewish summer camp he attended as a child. The trio, led by Perowsky on drums, features my favorite pianist Uri Caine and bassist Drew Gress. Vocalists Oren Bloedow and Jennifer Charles (of goth pop group Elysian Fields) guest on "Birkat Hamazon." Standout tracks include "Yigdal" "Aleinu" and "Birkat Hamazon", but the whole thing is quite good.

Amazon has it here:

Tim Sparks' "Neshamah" features solo steel-string guitar explorations of traditional Jewish melodies from around the world. His arrangement of Brandwein's "Hora Mit Tzibeles" is beautiful.

"Meditations On The Ba'al Shem Tov's Melody" sounds like the tune I know as "Odom Harishon's Nigun", but his version of the A section is a little bit different from the way it is usually sung. The rehamonizations are interesting. "Freylich" is a tune I know as "Sherele", and the A section of his "The Shoemaker's Melody" is the same as the A section of Brandwein's "Terkishe Ya'ale V'yavo Tanz." This "sharing" of melodies is quite common in Klezmer. The Midde-Eastern and Balkan selections are nice too. According to Tim, despite being spread throughout so many regions, the genres covered retain a core harmonic vocabulary, and the tracks do all seem to fit together nicely.

Amazon has it here:

Both CD's are out on John Zorn's Tzadik record label, the musicianship is stellar, and I recommend both if you have an interest in Jewish themed jazz. Perowsky has reviews of Camp Songs on his website. Tim Sparks has reviews and sound clips on his website.