License To Shill

A Jewish singer-songwriter finds success with catchy commercials.


You may have never heard of singer-songwriter Cathy Heller, but chances are you’ve heard her music.

Heller has penned songs for American Airlines, Hasbro and the Disney Channel. Elisabeth Caren

Giving Voice To Cantorate’s ‘Golden Age’

Special to the Jewish Week

He’s like a Mississippi bluesman trying to keep alive the authentic Delta sound for a new generation.

"It's my quixotic quest to keep his music alive," says Cantor Jack Mendelson.

Meet The Jewish Singer Whose Music You Already Know From McDonald’s, MTV Ads


You may have never heard of singer-songwriter Cathy Heller, but chances are you’ve heard her music.

Cathy Heller

The Bluesman With The Yarmulke

‘Blind Boy’ Paxton may be the only blues singer who dons a skullcap and cooks ‘kosher soul food.’ Oh, and he can play, too.

Special to The Jewish Week

‘Blind Boy” Jerron Paxton is taking a call inside his Ridgewood, Queens, kitchen to answer a few questions. He talks while making rugelach, from scratch. “I make everything from scratch,” he says.

Old soul: Jerron Paxton is a rising blues star who honors his Jewish roots. Bill Steber

Michele Lee remembers the great composer Cy Coleman.

Special To The Jewish Week

“I remember him with a kind of combination laugh and giggle,” actress Michele Lee mused recently, thinking of the Jewish composer Cy Coleman. “He was always smiling.” Her tribute to a beloved mentor, “Nobody Does It Like Me: The Music of Cy Coleman,” runs this Thursday through Saturday at 54 Below ($45-$95; [646] 476-3551). On the program are some of Coleman’s best-known hits, including “Big Spender,” “Witchcraft,” “I’ve Got Your Number,” and “The Best is Yet to Come.”

Michele Lee sings the “unexpected” songs of Cy Coleman at 54 Below. Courtesy of Michele Lee

An Exit Ramp Off Weill’s Epic ‘Road’

Goal of slimmed-down version of ‘The Eternal Road’ is to ‘get it back into the repertoire.’

Special To The Jewish Week

Even in a city addicted to eye-popping spectacles, Kurt Weill’s “The Eternal Road,” which opened in New York in 1937, was the most extravagant musical production that anyone had ever seen. Intended as a wake-up call to Americans about the worsening plight of the Jews of Germany, the show centers on a rabbi who employs stories from the Hebrew Bible to teach a Jewish boy about his heritage, even as demonic forces gather around the synagogue where the lessons are taking place — forces that the boy may be able to defeat once his education is complete. A new, slimmed-down, concert staging, using one of the work’s original titles, “The Road of Promise,” comes to Carnegie Hall next week with Broadway veteran Ron Rifkin in the cast, along with eight operatic soloists.

Veteran actor Ron Rifkin stars as character who doubts his religion in “The Road of Promise.” Courtesy of ABC Television

Klezmer Fiddlers Revel In Freedom

Two violinists, a generation apart, go it alone and together.

Special To The Jewish Week

It’s the sheer freedom that appeals to Jake Shulman-Ment.

“It’s like taking off a set of chains,” he says. “The freedom and the flexibility [are] so different.”

Deborah Strauss and Jake Shulman-Ment: Strings attached.  Courtesy of Museum at Eldridge Street

The Music Of Defiance

A chance encounter at a Minneapolis bookstore led acclaimed conductor Murry Sidlin to recreate the Verdi work performed at Terezin.

Special To The Jewish Week

It was a simple act, one that book-lovers perform every day. But it changed Murry Sidlin’s career forever.

Conductor Murry Sidlin has brought the music of Terezin prisoners to life in “Defiant Requiem.”  Jeff Roffman

The Sounds Of Belarus, Reimagined In Brooklyn

Litvakus draws on forgotten traditional pieces to forge a new klezmer sound.

Special To The Jewish Week

He is a man who bestrides two worlds, with one foot in America, the other in Belarus. Or one foot in academia, the other in music. At the moment, though, Dmitri “Zisl” Slepovitch has both feet planted squarely in being a Daddy; his sleeping 20-month-old daughter is now safely entrusted to her nanny.

“It’s a sound that is totally unknown anywhere else.” Leonid Gilman

Black-Jewish Group Chasing The Trane

Afro-Semitic Experience now flirting with late-’60s free-flowing spiritual jazz pioneered by John Coltrane.

Special To The Jewish Week

This is, quite simply, the sound of joy. Seven musicians playing with great passion, performing 10 tunes by composers they love in a loose-limbed style that runs the gamut from post-bop to klez-jazz to Latin clave to gospel.

Afro-Semitic Experience, top. Courtesy of Afro-Semitic Experience
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