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Shifra Tanzt - Jewish Jazz Ensemble by Mark Weinstein

Mark Weinstein was in the 1960s better known as a trombonist when he played w/ Herbie Mann and various Latin-Jazz ensembles before leaving the music for academia. Now he’s back, embracing both the flute and his trad Jewish roots with Shifra Tanzt - Jewish Jazz Ensemble, a quartet that interprets Jewish/Hebraic folk tunes is a jazz style that maintains strong folk overtones and even hints of classical (baroque) music. For the uninitiated to such kindly culture-clashes (see also: Andy Statman, John Zorn, The Klezmatics), there’s plenty of haunting, minor-key melodies that sound vaguely Middle Eastern and/or Balkan, but the rhythms and solos are fluid post-bop jazz, ranging from the pensive ("Kandel’s Hora/Der Gasn Ningun") to the sorrowful (the J.S. Bach-inflected, "Scarborough Fair"-like "Rosh Hoshana Nigunim") to the somewhat uptempo (the Coltrane-meets-Paul Winter-meets Greek wedding band "Frailach No.4/Bulgar"). Weinstein has a clean, welcoming tone on the flute, Brad S has a Jim Hall-with-teeth approach to the gee-tar, and Richmond and Haddad provide plenty of tense, subtly volatile rhythmic snap. Another selling point is all 13 tunes have any appealing compactness to them - everyone "says" what they need to say then moves on, w/out any extraneous blather. In fact, Shifra Tanzt would make for a nice introduction not only to "ethnic" jazz but to jazz neophytes in general - take heed, you gift-givers. [LKC Prod., 41 Clinton Rd., Glen Ridge, NJ 07028]

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Mark Weinstein
  • CD Title: Shifra Tanzt - Jewish Jazz Ensemble
  • Genre: Folk Jazz
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Record Label: LKC Productions
  • Musicians: M.W.: flute; Brad Shepik: guitar; Mike Richmond: bass; Jamey Haddad: percussion.
  • Rating: Four Stars
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