Many years ago my dad had a radio show in Miami. It was not a commercial station so if contributions didn’t come in production would stop. It was called Freilach Time and it aired during parts of 1980, 1981, and 1982. We have been digitizing the tapes and putting it up on a Facebook group as well as Youtube. Many Thanks to Steve Lasky for his assistance in this endeavor. So far we’ve put three shows online. The link for the first one is below.
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….
I had previously written about Hannukah at Symphony Space. I now wish to cover the experience of being a part of the WQXR musical celebration of Hannukah. My trio was one of three groups to be showcased at this event. It was streamed live last Thursday the 5th of December at 7 PM. It will be post-produced and made into a special Hannukah program for 2014. When it gets aired it will be on stations all over the country. I wanted our “Ashkenazi” portion of the program to show diversity within our Klezmer music. We started with “Tumler’s Bulgar”. I don’t know who wrote this one but I do know it was a favorite of my dad’s. He recorded it two separate times treating it differently each time. The czardas is a standard Hungarian song form. We played our “Hungarian #2” as our second selection. Jacob Jacob’s Farges Mich Nit was third as we wanted to include a song from the Yiddish Theater, We closed with the “Beresh Katz Sher” which was written by Katz himself. Prior to the music I was fortunate enough to be interviewed by WQXR radio host Naomi Lewin. She did a great job as hostess for the evening. I was thrilled that they used some family pictures that I incorporate into my lectures. There’s something cool about a picture from 1898 in Kiev streaming live all over the webworld!!!! It was a pleasure to hear the two other groups: East of the River and Shashmaqam. We all got on stage at the end of the night for Mao Tzur and Hava Nagila. I must thank my band members Mike Cohen and Christina Crowder for their musicianship as well as a great performance. I will add the link below if you’d like to see the show. Our part starts at the 57:50 mark…..
I’ve decided to start a blog. It’s going to be a regular find on this website. The topic(s) will almost always be music and/or Klezmer related. I’ve been blessed as far as coming from a family with deep musical roots. There have been many stories and characters over the years. A lot of these fun times took place in Brooklyn. The Levinsky (original name) family bought a house on Williams Ave in the Brownsville section back in the early 1920’s. At that time, regular people could actually buy a house without having to give up their first born. The house was filled with music practicing as well as lessons. My grandfather Jack was serious about his students as well as his daily practice. He would wake up and pull his violin out from under his bed and start to play. Later on he would practice trombone and piano/accordion. In those days he would work in the pits of the Yiddish Theater on 2nd Avenue. There were also many Jewish nightclubs on the Lower East Side where musicians would work nightly until the wee hours of the morning. Let’s not forget about the silent movie circuit. Each theater would have a live band playing the soundtrack for the duration of the film. There would be several viewings per day providing a great deal of work for musicians at that time. One of my grandfather’s friends was a pianist by the name of Max Nacht. He was a well read gentleman who taught piano as well. Max wasn’t interested in making a lot of money. He would work the silent film circuit for a month or two in order to save a few dollars. He would then “take off” a month or two in order to do some reading and educate himself. Each day he bought a box of crackers and a container of milk. He noticed that the crackers and the milk were only half finished by the time he went to bed. He told my grandfather one day that he decided to get married. This was one way to ensure that the crackers as well as the milk would not go to waste!!!!!!! Who says there’s no such thing as true love!!!!!!!