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Bop Kabbalah

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Bop Kabbalah (l to r): Ben Holmes (trumpet), Ken Thomson (bass clarinet), myself (guitar) and Adam D Gold (drums) .
photo by Eli Koppel
This quartet is my take on Jewish-themed composition-meets-improvisation. The band plays far-reaching, kinetic, lyrical music that takes some of the language of klezmer, modal nigunim, jazz, rock and 21st century concert music…and then twists and recontextualizes it. It’s not really what you’d hear in most synagogues – though we have played in some – or at most weddings, but of course, those aren’t the only places to hear Jewish music! The music I’ve written for this group draws on my Jewish life and many years of experience playing secular and religious music. To learn more, check out this video.

Our debut recording came out in May 2014 on Tzadik Records (Radical Jewish Culture Series) and has received some rave reviews, including four stars in Downbeat and The Sydney Morning Herald. JazzTimes called it “…one of the year’s most arresting recordings…wailing with enough majesty to bring down the walls of Jericho.” You can buy it directly here, or on Amazon and Itunes.

2016 saw the addition of vocalists Kamala Sankaram and Sara Serpa for the premiere of my new long-form piece “Future Generations (A Setting of Yiddish Poetry by Avrom Reyzen).” Reyzen’s century-old poetry is a prescient and haunting exploration of Jews in social justice struggles. Nothing seems more relevant to me as an artist in 2017.