When I said that one of the reasons for my summer off was that I am working on a book, I wasn't kidding. I'm doing a revised edition of Essential Judaism which, after 15 years, could use some updating. I only mention this because it explains the comparative silence of the past week or so, as I finished up one phase of the revisions before moving on to writing the new chapter(s).
That said, I've been swamped by news and I want to pass along a bunch of it. Some of these items we will return to in the near future, especially new CDs that I promise to write about. But everything below is worth your attention.
Jenny Scheinman has long since moved past the "Jewish music" label, if such a thing can be said to exist. She has also taken on a rather ambivalent stance vis-a-vis being a jazz artist, since her last album was original songs that placed her closer to the singer-songwriter thing. That said, she's going to be appearing at one of the most classic and hallowed of jazz halls. Scheinman will be playing the Village Vanguard July 21-26 with her new band, which features Myra Melford on piano, Doug Wieselman on reeds and Rudy Royston on drums. Scheinman will, of course, be playing her fiddle and, I expect, singing a bit too. The Vanguard is (still) located at 78 7th Avenue South in the Village (duh); the phone number is (212) 255-4037.
Here are a bunch of upcoming CDs I'm planning on writing about shortly:
- the Canadian band Ventanas is offering a fusion of Sephardic, North African and flamenco on their latest set, Arrelumbres;
- Big Galut(e) is a band that blends classical with klezmer on their eponymous CD; their clarinetist is Robin Seletsky, offspring of Harold and there is a theorbo (aren't those rather fattening?);
Robin Seletzky (left) and Big Galut(e)
- Jazz singer Deborah Latz will be playing at the Cornelia St. Cafe on July 25 and I should have a review of her latest CD, sur l'instant on this page shortly before that;
- Benny Sharoni, one of the less-heralded but definitely gifted Israeli jazz musicians currently living and playing in the States, has a new album showcasing his muscular tenor sax, Slant Signature (Papaya Records);
- Continuing on the jazz tip, Erik Friedlander will pay tribute to fellow cellist Oscar Pettiford on his next album, Oscalypso (Skipstone Records), which will be released in late October.
Romashka on the Roof
In a somewhat different but not unrelated vein, the Film Society of Lincoln Center is presenting their annual summer extravaganza of music-related film and video, "Sound + Vision" July 29-August 6. The opening night film is a loving profile of rock hitmaker Danny Fields, Danny Says, by Bryan Toller, well worth your time.
Finally, let me direct your attention to Tablet Magazine, the always interesting Jewish culture and politics and food and fashion and more on-line magazine (oh, how I wish that rhymed!), where a recent piece by Joseph Winkler offers a glimpse into the daily life of "ex-Ultra-Orthodox" singer, songwriter and overall sensation Lipa Schmeltzer. I did a piece on Schmeltzer myself several months ago, and found him utterly fascinating. Winkler had a significant amount of face-to-face with him, and the result is well worth a look.
Have a peaceful shabbes! Normal service -- whatever that might be -- will resume next week. I hope.