Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Only In NY

Passed a homeless guy in the city. He was singing "If I Only Had A Brain" from the "Wizard of Oz"... only he'd changed the words to "If I Only Had Some Change" which he emphasized by rattling a cup of change along with the music.

Violinist Update

Probe clears soldier in violin incident.

I wonder if all of those who were so quick to criticize Israel will report this too.
According to the findings, the soldiers had asked Wassam Tayam to open his violin case for inspection. Tayam then took out his violin and began to play, despite the long line of Palestinians behind him.

The court came to its conclusions after viewing the video clip of the incident filmed by a member of the Machsom Watch human rights group who was at the checkpoint at the time of the incident, reading a letter sent by the group detailing the incident, and interviewing all military personnel who were at the checkpoint that day.

Update: Israellycool has this:
A member of the Israeli human-rights group Machsom Watch who filmed the incident told Reuters last week she did not believe Tayim was coerced into playing.

All For The Money, Not!

Here's Nat Hentoff with "The Re-Emergence of Big Band Jazz?"

Monday, November 29, 2004

Mish-Mosh Review

Elliot Simon reviews Aaron Alexander's "Midrash Mish Mosh" and Shelley Manne's 1962 album, "Steps to the Desert", which has recently been rereleased"

Via the KlezmerShack

Dr. Laz Update

Here's an article about Dr. Laz.
Some of his students can't move, their bodies forever trapped in wheelchairs. Some of them can't speak, the connection lost between their minds and mouths.

But something special happens when teacher David Lazerson walks into a room and plugs in his guitar.

Don't Play That, Play This!

Miriam disagrees with JWR's Binyomin Jolkovsky.

Jolkovsky would like to see Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song" replaced with Destiny's 1985 song "Color Candles." Miriam writes:
I've never heard Color Candles, but I daresay there's a reason the Hanukkah Song became a smash hit and it didn't.
Somehow, I don't see this campaign having much success.

Old Peter's Tales

Peter Himmelman tells a" Bubby Maaseh."


At the "Shteeble" (clearly the correct English spelling as evidenced by "Country Yossi"), Reb Lazer answers a letter from a reader:
Dear Rabbi Lazer,

My daughter is at a rebellious age of 16. She learns in an orthodox environment, but lately she's been playing heavy metal rock in her bedroom. I don't know where she picked that up, but it's driving me crazy. When I asked her not to bring those trashy CDs home, she opened up a mouth to me and asked sarcastically, "Since when does music need a kosher certificate?" Unfortunately, I didn't know what to answer. Please give me a helping hand on this issue.

With gratitude, YS from Long Island

More Reviews

The KlezmerShack reviews a host of new recordings including the recent Kleztraphobix release "another bottle of vodka" and Shirim's "Pincus and the Pig: A Klezmer Tale."

Friday, November 26, 2004


Seth Rogovy reviews Shirim's ""Pincus and the Pig: A Klezmer Tale", a klezmerized remake of Prokofiev's classic story "Peter and the Wolf," done in collaboration with author and illustrator Maurice Sendak.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Traffic -- not the band

Dov Bear is complaining about receiving critical comments from musicians.
Oh, yes, I suppose I did make things a bit worse when I said "most Jewish wedding music is bland and boring, in other words generic. And if you've been to the supermarket, you know the generic brands command the lowest prices and the least respect. "But isn't there something true about this, too?
The comments, which all appear to have been written by the same person can be found here.

Found Music

If Dida Bei can be a song lyric, then why not Eilu Mitziyos?:
One of the first tractates of Talmud a new student is taught involves the disposition of lost property. Given the 4,000-year history of loss experienced by the Jewish people, that makes perfect sense. It is also easy to see why passages from Bava Metzia, the tractate in question, are at the heart of the new music theater piece by Bang on a Can, “Lost Objects,” which has its American premiere on Nov. 30.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004


Jewschool has video of Matisyahu on Jimmy Kimmel's show.

And Another.

The Town Crier has the upcoming Yeshiva University Chanukah concert info.

TTC also points us to this December 25th event.
On Saturday, December 25, 2004, the 1st Annual "Fiddler on the Roof" Sing-Along and Kosher Chinese Dinner will be held, starting at 6pm with a Havdalah ceremony, which signifies the end of the Jewish Sabbath. The idea follows in the tradition of the popular "Sound of Music" sing-alongs and the audience-participation phenomenon of "Rocky Horror Picture Show." Complete with costumes, props and lyrics, the audience will have a chance to show off their melodic talents by singing along with an open-captioned version of selected scenes from the 1971 Oscar-winning musical film adaptation based on the stories of Sholom Aleichem about a poor milkman whose love, pride and faith help him face the oppression of turn-of-the-century czarist Russia.
To add to the fun, the audience is encouraged to attend dressed as a favorite Fiddler character - Tevye the milkman, Yenta the matchmaker, Russian dancers, Motel the tailor, the daughters, etc. Props will be provided, as will activities for younger children. The evening will be topped off by a Tevye look-alike contest and live Klezmer music, followed by a Kosher, vegetarian Chinese feast.
Andrew Silow-Carroll addresses NY Post writer Dawn Eden's op-ed "The Grinch Who Stole 'Messiah.'"

Writes AS-C:
I know the writer -- she contributed to the Forward when I was there -- and while she mentions in the piece that she has a "Jewish father" and that when she was a student in Maplewood "it wasn't always easy being a Jewish kid in the chorus," she does not mention, as she one told Gawker, that "I am indeed a Jew who's accepted Jesus as the Messiah."
Does it matter? I think so, in this case: Among the objections some parents might have to school-sponsored religious music is the fear that their children will be influenced by others' religious ideas. In that case, Eden's syncretic beliefs embody these fears. This topic begs for a discussion of those fears, even if to dismiss them; a writer as personally invested in the blending of Christian and Jewish ideas as Eden, and one who brings other biographical information into her essay, is being coy when she leaves her current beliefs out of the mix.
Paul Wieder reviews a number of JM CD's for Jewish World Review's Chanukah wrap-up.

Bradford Pilcher interviews Asher Kahn for Jewsweek in
"Download Asher Kahn."

Jewsweek also has an interesting profile of Or Music.

Monday, November 22, 2004

In Which Dov Bear Finally Gets His Link...

DovBear (who has been trying to get our attention for a bit -- see here, here,here, and here) thinks one of our respondents is an idiot.

A reader comments:
While I find it annoying to audition for people who know my playing well, the client does have a right to know what they are getting. Having done this for a long time, I have the luxury of booking based on my reputation for excellence, but I still have to audition sometimes. But someone booking at $800.00 for two musicians is so far below the normal price, which could be anywhere from $1000.00 to about $1300.00 for a weekday, that any client could reasonably question whether they are dealing with someone reputable. When I book a job, I am paying for health care and pensions for my musicians, which means I have the pick of the professional musicians. I am paying for liability insurance for the band. I am paying for music preparation. i think you get the idea. Be offended if you wish, but don't be surprised.
The original writer responds:
My focus was more on the fact that people spend tremendous amount of money on the wedding, but when it comes to the music, in my experience they are always looking to "cut corners", so that the ice sculptures, and steak dinner and sushi bar and Viennese table can still be presented with class.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Random Conversation

At tonights gig...

Kid: My friend's brother has a Yamaha PSR 2000. Know what that is?

Dm: Shrugs

Kid: Me either.

Friday, November 19, 2004

House of Hock Ethics Updates

The House of Hock has posted its JM ethics updates here and here.

But What Do You Sound Like?

A reader writes:
I got a call today to do a wedding at the end of December from the mother of the bride. I thought traditionally in Jewish Orthodox circles, the grooms side deals with FLOP (Flowers, Liquor, Orchestra, Pictures), but hey everyone is different I guess.
So anyhow, to continue I give her the price quote of $800 for 5 hours. To anyone that has made an affair in the Jewish circle, thats a bargain price. She is getting TWO musicians, me on alto and soprano saxophone, and my partner on keyboards and we both sing. The average orchestra would charge a MINIMUM of $1,500 for the same thing. She says "please give me a reference". So, I did and its actually someone who we played for in recent months in the same hall that this couple is getting married in. Then, I get a call from the bride, she has "questions", I figure she wanted to know what songs she can pick etc., but she asks "where can I hear you?" and "do you have a demo I can hear". I couldn't tell her we dont have anything coming up or a demo, so I guess she will shop around and hopefully realize what we are offering is a bargain.
Well, I'm done ranting. Anyone else agree this is madness the way musicians are treated?
Personally, I think that it's quite reasonable for a prospective client to want to hear a band before booking them. The choice of band can make or break an affair. The decision should never be based solely on price. Unfortunately, it often is.

Ever Seen This?

Shmorg drums.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Tzadik Reviews

George Robinson reviews a slew of Tzadik releases for the Jewish Week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Link Dump

It's been a while...

Instapundit informs that GarageBand.com is partnering with Microsoft and will allow users to ressurect their MP3.com content.

Jewish rapper Etan G. has posted episodes of the TV show, "The Amazing Race", he appeared in on his website.
On April 25th, 2004, Etan G was ambushed at Canter's Famous Deli on Fairfax in the heart of Los Angeles. Made to believe he was going to a business meeting with music industry colleagues Daniel F. Scherl (President, Group 8 Productions) and Raj Gupta (President, Virtu Music Group), Etan G was in for a lot more than a surprise when Phil Keoghan (creator and host of the Emmy-Award Winning "The Amazing Race") showed up with a full camera and production crew to announce that they had selected to him to try and make his dream come true!
What was that dream?
With only three days and three thousand dollars... to produce and shoot a professional music video for one of his songs, have it reviewed by an A-list Rap Artist or Music Industry Executive, and have his mother present during the meeting so he could prove to her once and for all that his career as a Rap Artist is legitimate.
The House of Hock has a pair of posts, "stealing by any other name"and "Power to the people", addressing one JM distributor's apparent lack of ethics.

The 2004 version of Avremi G's "The Jewish Wedding" book is out. He's posted an index of songs at the above linked site.
This year’s additions include:

A new (old) Cm smorg set. (Thanks to T.R.)
An overhaul of the “Oom-Pah” set.
Some new (old) marches.
Several additions to the Chassidic set.
A totally revamped Dinner section.
Selections from the new albums of Mona, MBD, Shwekey, Yeshiva Boys’ Choir, Chevra 2, Lipa Schmeltzer.
By popular demand; The Lag Baomer Set.
The hit ‘Zochreini Na’ (Note: We've editorialized against playing this one here.)
A revamped Mizrahit section.
And more…..
Here's a YU Commentator article "Stomping Shagitz: Jews in Punk Rock".

Jewschool updates on John Zorn's Masada 2.0

MOChassid has the upcoming concert schedule at Aish Kodesh. See the comments too.

TheKlezmerShack notes that the Klezmatics/Woody Guthrie Chanukkah CD is available in limited edition online.

Friday, November 05, 2004

New Music

Mooshy composes a new "shiny-shoe" song.

"Dilbert", who has apparently read lots of "Brooklynesque" JM PR, has penned a review of Mooshy's best-selling smash-hit in the comments section.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Check out the psycho!

Here's Psycho Toddler about performing with Kesher (they opened for "Country Yossi"), and reflecting on a Yeshivish power trio who are rehearsing "Gelt".

Incidentally, Mark's "Kabbalah" recordings were offically verboten in the Yeshiva High School I attended. Naturally, that's why/how everybody knew about them.

Update: Link was broken. It's fixed now.

Some Reviews

The Forward reviews "Meshugene Mambo", "The Makkabees", and "Meshugga Beach Party".