Music

The Real Fifth Beatle

Graphic novel tells graphic tale of drugs, homosexuality in the Swinging Sixties and Brit Brian Epstein, the man behind the band.

02/14/2014
Jewish Week Online Columnist
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The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story chronicles in surrealist, comic-book-style fashion the rise and fall of one of the most successful music managers of all time. It is the untold tale of Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ Jewish, homosexual manager, who guided the group during their atmospheric rise to fame and whose vision changed the world. “If anyone was the fifth Beatle, it was Brian,” Paul McCartney famously stated in a 1999 BBC interview.

Brian Epstein

Krakauer Goes To The Movies

Month-long series has the clarinetist exploring tunes from films with Jewish content.

01/21/2014
Special To The Jewish Week
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The noted clarinetist David Krakauer has moved through enough genres to last several musical lifetimes. In the past 25 years he has played everything from klezmer (where he was one of the leaders of the klez revival) to classical, jazz, folk and funk.

A new lens on his work: Krakauer arranges tunes from Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Photo courtesy GMD3

Joshua Nelson’s ‘Moaning And Groaning’

The black and Jewish singer brings together two musical traditions that help define his people.

12/17/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
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Joshua Nelson could imagine the sound of the music he wanted to make. Growing up a Reform Jew and an African American, he imagined a music that would combine “the moaning and groaning” of two historically oppressed people in a form that would go straight to the heart.

Joshua Nelson breaks all kinds of stereotypes. Photo courtesy DZB Productions LLC

‘A Goyishe Christmas’

N.Y. Festival of Song program looks at relationship between Jewish composers and holiday classics.

12/11/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
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I’m sitting on the downtown A train, diagonally across from a shortish guy in a Victorian-era top hat and long topcoat. He’s listening to an mp3 recorder, stopping, rewinding, repeating, singing along to a famous Jerry Herman tune from “Mame.” But the lyrics are a bit metamorphosed.

Irving Berlin, composer of "White Christmas." Getty Images

Mambo, From Miami To The Mountains

New release from Idelsohn Society traces the roots of the Latin-Jewish musical story.

12/03/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
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Although it flourished most brightly in the post-World War II era, the Jewish-Latin connection in American pop music probably goes back as far as the history of recordings will take us. Even the authors of the entertaining liner notes for “It’s a Scream How Levine Does the Rhumba: The Latin-Jewish Musical Story: 1940-1980s” admit that the origins of this musical marriage are shrouded in mystery. But as the two-CD set, issued this month by the Idelsohn Society for Musical Preservation, richly documents, it has been a fruitful, if occasionally dopey relationship. (As if none of us have been in one of those, right?)

Idelsohn’s new collection moves from Xavier Cugat to Machito to Eydie Gorme.

‘The Voice Of The Rebirth Of Yiddish Culture’

The Folksbiene marks Theo Bikel’s 90th birthday with a celebration.

11/26/2013
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The memory is clear, the fear still palpable.

“We looked from behind our curtains, and in the street we saw the hardware rumbling past — the cannons, the machine guns, and the open limousines with Goering and Hitler,” Theodore Bikel says. “We trembled. And within days the expected and feared happened.”

Theodore Bikel, left

A Musical ‘Bridge’ To Israel

Soulfarm’s new thematic album is a departure for the popular jam band group.

11/19/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
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C Lanzbom and Noah Solomon Chase, the guitarist-songwriters who are the core of the band Soulfarm, have been making music together a long time.

C Lanzbom and Noah Solomon Chase: The new record is “kind of a throwback.” Soulfarm.net

Under Hindemith’s Wing

Five Jewish protégés of the great composer, while he was Yale, have their moment in the spotlight.

11/19/2013
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If, as Shakespeare famously wrote, every man in his time plays many parts, it should come as no surprise that various observers will see him differently over time. The time span needn’t even be a particularly long one. Consider the case of the 20th-century composer Paul Hindemith. While in exile to escape the Nazis, Hindemith taught at the Yale School of Music and, in that capacity he mentored a distinguished group of younger composers whose music is being performed, along with that of Hindemith himself, on Nov. 22 in a concert tribute “Hindemith at Yale.” Of the five Hindemith protégés whose work will be on the program, the two who are still alive have recollections of Hindemith that seem to be calculated to make the listener think they are discussing completely different, albeit potent, teachers.

Paul Hindemith teaching a class at Yale’s Sprague Hall. Photo courtesy Yale University

The Music Of ‘Spoken Word’

For Jake Marmer, poetry is an outgrowth of song.

10/22/2013
Special To The Jewish Week
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The stage at the Cornelia Street Café isn’t spacious. With a baby grand piano in place it is downright cramped. So it’s not surprising that poet Jake Marmer is bouncing in place as he chants, exhorts and declaims his verse while Greg Wall, Frank London and Uri Sharlin lay down a deep-pile sonic carpet to cushion his words. “It’s been a long way to get here,” Marmer says at the outset of the performance, “and I’m grateful to be in the moment.”

Marmer, in mid-linguistic riff: Improvising like a jazz man. Photo courtesy Jake Marmer/Andy Ingall

Sephardic Cousins Reunite, 40 Years On

For Gerard Edery and Claudio Betan, the connection is both genetic and musical.

10/09/2013
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Forty years is a long time between drinks. Or collaborations.

Gerard Edery, Left, and Claudio Betan. "We share the Argentine connection," Edery says. George Robinson
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