We had the good fortune to open up the spring season of the NY Klezmer Series last night at Stephen Wise Synagogue. My trio shared the evening with vocalist and songwriter Miryem Khaye Seigel. We played one long set and switched between instrumental and vocal selections to keep it interesting. Our repertoire for the evening included compositions by Beresh Katz, Louis Grupp, Eli Basse, Hymie Jacobson and others. We also performed several of Miryem Khaye’s originals. On another note I had an old record of my dad’s cleaned up and mastered and it should be out digitally sometime this spring. My grandfather is the trombonist on the album which was recorded in 1962. The repertoire on this album is not typical of what today’s Klezmer aficionado would be accustomed to. It’s safe to say that 99.9 percent of the people who enjoy this type of music have probably never heard most of this material before. I’ve been incorporating some of this repertoire into the set when we do a gig. I guess you could call this new old music. It’s new if you’ve never heard it before. Until the next one….
This past Saturday evening was a great experience. My good friend and colleague Dr. Hankus Netsky was an artist in residence at Temple Beth Shalom in Livingston, NJ. I was asked to be part of the concert with him and a few other performers. We had Mike Cohen on clarinet, Jim Guttman on bass, Amanda Miryem-Khaye Siegel on vocals, and we were joined by the cantor for a few tunes. The crowd was receptive and broke out in dance a few times during the show. We were able to shmooze with the people afterwards at a dessert reception in the temple………Now I am preparing for the opening night of the NY Klezmer Series at Stephen Wise Synagogue on January 28. My trio will be joining forces with Miryem-Khaye who will be singing selections in Yiddish as well as English. I’ve been digging deeper into the family repertoire and found a really cool “bulgar” written by Louis Grupp. Mr.Grupp was an old time Klezmer who was friendly with my grandfather back in Brownsville, Brooklyn. I see his tombstone every time I go visit my family’s graves’. Many of the old time Klezmers are laid to rest in Woodbridge, NJ. Anyhow, Grupp’s tune is very cool. He kind of wrote over the barline with somewhat uneven phrases that seem to work. Lennon and McCartney’s Yesterday is a seven bar phrase but feels so natural. That’s the most popular song I can relate this to but of course they sound nothing like each other!!!! We will have a few other surprises as well. Miryem-Khaye is a fine composer as well as a talented vocalist. We will be backing her up on some of her tunes as well as some covers….. I have a date to re-master an old Tikva album my dad recorded in 1962. My grand father is playing trombone on this recording and did the arrangements. My good buddy and great bass player Phil Palombi is going to help me clean it up and get it sounding great. I hope to get it out digitally (at least) this spring. In unrelated news I’d like to wish my wonderful sister Rhonda a very happy birthday today!!!!