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One Jew's Views

One Jew's Views

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Liner Notes, One Jew's Views by Yochanan Sebastian Winston, Ph.D. This is the music of a "Fourth Generation Klezmer". Not that I come from a long line of musicians. My late father was an architect, his father owned a dry goods store before the Depression wiped him out and his father was a farmer in Lithuania. No, I am the first one in my family's memory to pursue a life in music. But I will never forget the first time I heard the "real deal," the First Generation players like Dave Tarras and the Naftule Brandwein Orchestra on an old and scratchy Folkways record. They brought the music over. Klezmer. The real deal. The stuff they played in the old country for goyische and yiddische weddings alike. They brought it over and the sounds of Louis Armstrong and King Oliver and later, Benny Goodman and Count Basie cross pollinated with it and created something new. Families danced to this stuff in Brooklyn and in the Catskills. The bands learned mambos and listened to comedians at Grossinger's and the Concorde and ate at all-you-can-eat buffets. And the music changed. Second Generation Klezmer music was what they played at bar mitzvahs in Long Island. It was a new music. And soon a new king from Memphis, Tennessee reigned in the music world. Kids didn't want to listen to the Andrews Sisters, didn't want to go to camp during the summer anymore, didn't want to take mambo and tap lessons. "OK, OK, I'll study to become a bar mitzvah and then that's it!!!!!" A deal was struck. If the kid had a bar mitzvah, the parents would spring for a rock and roll band (later a DJ) for the party. So, Jewish music languished except in a few isolated communities. But in those communities, Jewish music continued to develop. In Brooklyn, there were the Lubavitchers and musicians like Mordechai ben David who wrote in a new style of rock and roll that used holy texts from the Torah and the Siddur. There was "The Singing Rabbi", Shlomo Carlebach (z"l) who was out on college campuses pleading for the youth to return to Torah-true Judaism. And the Israelis, when they weren't being shot at or bombed by their Arab neighbors were sponsoring song festivals and writing marvelous new tunes. And there were men and women in this country like Henry Sapoznik and Hankus Netsky who went back to the old recordings, studied with the old timers and revived and resucitated an old music that many had presumed was dead. There was a new generation of Jewish music. These are the Third Generation Klezmers who remain active and working. And there is us. In New York alone, there are too many to count. Giants like Andy Statman and David Krakauer. Forward thinking artists like those who have surrounded John Zorn and his band Massada. Observant Jews like "the Sephardic Santana", the "Chassidic Hendrix" Yossi Piamenta. I align myself with these colleagues since we all have certain things in common. A "Fourth Generation Klezmer" usually comes from a different musical tradition than Klezmer music, has studied the history of Jewish music and has melded several different influences together to form a post-Modernist creation. In the final analysis, the absorption of traditional Klezmer music allows it's influence to appear without regard to historical performance practice; for a Fourth Generation Klezmer, it is no longer material to replicate how it was played, but instead, what it means now. But, this is just one Jew's view... Notes on the music: Yerushalayim Shel Zahav was composed by Naomi Shemer in 1967. The song was originally submitted to an Israeli song festival competition but failed to win any prizes. With the outbreak of the Six Day War a few months later and the subsequent recapture of Jerusalem by Israeli troops, the song became an unofficial national anthem expressing the Jewish people's centuries-long love affair with the beloved capital. This arrangement is mostly original with an introductory bass line taken from John Coltrane's Equinox. The harmony was completely rewritten and adapted in collaboration with Tommy Gannon and a new section was composed for the piano solo. Erev Shel Shoshanim and Dodi Li were originally composed by Yosef Hadar (with lyrics by Moshe Dar) and Nira Chen respectively. The Hebrew texts are incredibly sensual and express love through the combined elements of smell, sight and touch. Erev Shel Shoshanim is a setting of a secular, modern Israeli poem and Dodi Li is from the Shir ha shirim (Song of Songs), attributed to King Solomon. Yedid Nefesh is based upon the musical setting of Ehud and Sarah Zweig of the ancient text which welcomes the Sabbath Queen. The poem was composed by Rabbi Eliezer Azikir (1533-1600) who was a disciple of the great mystic Rabbi Isaac Luria of Sfat (Safed). It is said that in preparation for the Shabbat, Rabbi Luria and his followers would array themselves in their finest clothing, walk out to the hills surrounding Sfat and welcome the mystical Shabbat Queen with this poem. My musical arrangement welcomes her too, with a backdrop of Coltrane-inspired harmony. Don't Worry, Sein Frailach is found in a curious set of publications that the brothers Jack and Joseph Kammen put together in 1924. Billed as "The Most Useful Book Of It's Kind", only Volumes 1 and 9 have survived. No one knows for sure what happened to the other seven volumes. These were the original Jewish "fake" books; Messrs. Kammen compiled them from First Generation sources. #15 is simply called Rumanian-Serbian (Frailach) in the book. It was turned into a huge hit when it was arranged for big band by Ziggy Ellman and retitled "And the Angels Sing." Don't Worry, Sein Frailach is from Volume 1, #1 and is, fittingly, the first Klezmer standard that I ever cut my teeth on. It has been entirely rearranged, adapted and generally, beaten into submission for this recording. Rumanian Horra This traditional work was used in the old country as a wedding dance for the bride and groom. In the interest of modesty, the couple would not hold hands during their dances but instead would each hold the opposite corner of a handkerchief. To me, the piece evokes the sense of a lost world, obliterated by the Holocaust. Oseh Shalom was composed by Nurit Hirsh and is a setting from the liturgy. The prayer is a plea for God who "makes peace in the high places" to also make peace on earth for all people of good conscience. For this performance, the harmony and arrangement were completely adapted by myself and Tommy Gannon and I composed an original new section for the flute solo. The melody which is known and loved by millions, stays pretty close to the original except that the time signature was changed from 4/4 to 6/8. The source material for Homage (To The 2nd Generation) is based upon Frailach #3 from Kammen Volume 1. It has been adapted, arranged and performed in a form that bears little resemblance to the original. The spirit of our interpretation pays homage to the great, working musicians of the 1940's, '50's and '60's who brought home the butter by playing whatever it took to make a living. Many of the primary sources we have today for first generation Klezmer music has been passed down by these magnificent, highly skilled, slightly crusty guys who would go from playing in a Broadway pit orchestra one night to playing a Jewish wedding the next. These players brought an astonishing level of excellence and professionalism to every piece they played; I have learned from them and I love them (but don't tell them that, they'll just laugh at you!) I composed Every Crying Mother in response to two events. My first child, Sarah, was born in September, 1994. That winter, Sarajevo became a contested battleground and the entire civilian population was buffeted by war, disease and starvation. On the television news, a mourning mother was shown cradling her dead baby who had been mortally wounded when a bomb shell landed in the marketplace. At that moment it struck me that the pain of a mother's loss was worse than any other imaginable. Children are supposed to survive their parents, parents are not supposed to bury their own young. As a consequence, this song is dedicated to every mother who has ever lost a child. It is my humble prayer that Sarah, her sister Rachel, her brother Jordan and my wife Roberta never feel the pain of that woman in the marketplace.


Künstler: Yochanan Sebastian Winston
Titel: One Jew's Views
Genre: Jazz
Release-Datum: 23.08.2011
Etikett: CD Baby
Medienformat: CD
UPC: 884501498388