Blue Box

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

Bell and Isserlis play works by Brahms

For the Love of Brahms (Sony Classical), featuring renowned violinist Joshua Bell and cellist Steven Isserlis, a London native, focuses on the theme of love and friendship, specifically, the relationship between Johannes Brahms and his mentor, Robert Schumann — and their mutual friend, violinist and composer Joseph Joachim, who was from a Hungarian Jewish family. […]

Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

Philip Glass 24-CD set offers listening adventure

On Sept. 22, 2016, Pres. Barack Obama awarded Philip Glass the 2015 Na- tional Medal of Arts at a White House ceremony, “for his groundbreaking contributions to music and composi- tion.” Since his groundbreaking 1976 opera debut of Einstein on the Beach, Glass, 79, has become an iconic, avant- garde classical composer. For both aficionados […]

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016

Itamar Borochov extends the tradition

Itamar Borochov joins the long list of Israelis making their mark in jazz music on these shores. The trumpeter has played the Twin Cities on a couple of occasions with Yemen Blues, the Middle Eastern ensemble led by Ravid Kahalani. Borochov strikes out on his own now with a wonderful new album, Boomerang, on the […]

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Documentary examines Zionism’s history, future

Two Jewish American directors, Joseph Dorman (Arguing the World) and Oren Rudavsky (A Life Apart: Hasidism in America), combined their talents to write, produce and direct Colliding Dreams (available on DVD from Kino Lorber), which examines Zionism and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Even at 134 minutes, a film tracing the disintegration of the Jewish diaspora in […]

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

Heifetz CD set displays violin virtuoso’s magic

Jascha Heifetz (1901-1987) is widely considered to be the greatest violinist of all time. Itzhak Perlman, no slouch himself on the fiddle, called Heifetz “God.” You can judge for yourself — and perhaps start with The Magic of Jascha Heifetz (Song Classical), a three-CD set of the maestro’s late recordings remastered with the latest digital […]

Monday, September 12th, 2016

New album celebrates Theodore Bikel’s life

St. Paul-based Red House Records celebrates the extraordinary life and career of Theodore Bikel (1924-2015), actor, musician and social justice activist, with a two-CD set, While I’m Here. The package includes one CD of Bikel’s music, 17 songs sung in English, Hebrew, Yiddish, French, etc. The other disc is entirely spoken word, with Bikel telling […]

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Michael Bloomfield’s rise and fall chronicled

The son of a wealthy Jewish Chicago businessman, Michael Bloomfield learned guitar from the masters in South Side joints (Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, et al.), and became a seminal figure in the development of blues-rock guitar. Ed Ward expands and revises his 1983 bio, and essentially creates a new work with Michael Bloomfield: […]

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Fred Hersch Trio delights with new CD

Last year, we reviewed a solo album by jazz piano virtuoso Fred Hersch (9-25-15 AJW). The acclaimed improviser has followed up that satisfying achievement with a trio recording, Sunday Night at the Vanguard (Palmetto), which is packed full of wondrous musical moments. As the album title indicates, Hersch — along with bassist John Hébert and […]

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

Nefesh Mountain plays Old-Time Jewish music

A number of musicians have wed Jewish melodies to American bluegrass music. Mandolin and clarinet virtuoso Andy Statman bends Jewish liturgical tunes to bluegrass. And clarinetist Margo Leverett and the Klezmer Mountain Boys perform a repertoire of klezmer and bluegrass songs. Now comes Nefesh Mountain — married musicians Doni Zasloff, vocals, and Eric Lindberg, vocals, […]

Wednesday, July 13th, 2016

Peter Bernstein stays loose and lyrical

Peter Bernstein, an acclaimed jazz guitarist, interprets his own tunes and some standards on his new album, Let Loose (Smoke Sessions Records). The fleet and lyrical guitarist and his longtime collaborators, bassist Doug Weiss and drummer Bill Stewart, are joined here by Gerald Clayton, a brilliant young pianist who has played the Dakota in recent […]