Bruce Von Stiers
Paul Green has his feet planted in the worlds of jazz, classical and traditional Jewish music. He is a noted clarinetist and band leader. He has recorded both a classical album and klezmer.
This year finds Paul releasing his third album. This one is a combination of jazz and klezmer. The album is titled Paul Green: Music Coming Together. It was recorded with Paul and other musicians playing as a sextet. Paul named the group Two Worlds.
There are ten songs on the album and the play time for it is fifty-three minutes. It has been released on the Centaur music label. Paul produced the album along with Will Schillinger. All of the arrangements on the album were done by Paul.Lee
Paul leads the sextet playing his clarinet. On the album with Paul is Alan Simon. Having played with Toots Thielemans, Dizzy Gillespie and being a member of the Lionel Hampton Orchestra, Alan lends his considerable talents here on piano. Saxophonist Bruce Krasin has played for Tony Bennett and been part of the Jeff Holmes Big Band. He plays sax on this album. The drumming on the album is done by Bill Chapman. His previous credits include working with the Empire Brass, Charles Neville and Benito Gonzalez. Playing with legendary pop groups such as The Drifters and The Platters, bass player Daniel Broad helps out on this album as well. Closing out the members of the sextet is guitarist Michael Musillami. He has his own record label and has had seventeen albums released with him as leader.
I really didn't know much about klezmer music. But reading the liner notes for the album gave me a nice introduction to this Jewish music format. Such was the first song on the album, Tarras Doina and Blues. According to the notes, a doina is free form klezmer piece. This particular doina was written by clarinetist Dave Tarras. But for his rendition, Paul added a slice of the blues. There are some pretty decent solos on this song. The song was a great way to introduce the listener to klezmer that has a slight turn at the blues.
Si La Mar Era de Leche is a Sephardic folk melody. Paul took this classic song and added a slight difference, with his clarinet playing to, and against, the other musical instruments. It was a beautiful song, soft and gentle.
Footprints is a song that Wayne Shorter composed and is best known for the Miles Davis rendition. Here Paul takes the original composition and changing the music slightly for more of a Yiddish blues tone. The modified rendition is called Yiddish Footprints. It is an interesting song that has a nice bass solo and some cool clarinet and piano.
Shein vi di L'vone is a smile effecting tune. It kind of reminded me of music that is often associated with smiling, goofy clowns in film and television.
Der Gasn Nigun (The Street Tune) is slow and somewhat haunting. It invokes thoughts of destitute surroundings or possibly a sad funeral procession.
But things pick back up with an entertaining reworking of the Miles Davis song, So What? Paul named this rework So,Nu?
One of the most often utilized tunes from Richard Rogers is My Favorite Valentine. Here Paul and his group take a nice turn with a slightly different arrangement titled My Funny Jewish Valentine.
Head bopping drum backs up some great clarinet in the song Los Bibilicos (The Nightingales). There is some pretty cool guitar in the song as well.
Slowing things down once again is the sad, haunting tone of Papirsosn. But that is only the front end of the song. Somewhere in the middle, the pace picks up for a bit of lively entertainment.
Utt Day Zay (That's The Way) is the final song on the album. This was a Cab Calloway song where apparently he converted a Jewish ballad into a jazz song. Paul wrote an arrangement to take Calloway's elements and add a back in klezmer movements. This is a cool jazz piece with some great guitar and, of course, great clarinet as well.
As I mentioned earlier, I had little knowledge of Jewish klezmer music. But with this album combining jazz with klezmer music, I was given a nice introduction to it. The music on the album seemed to incorporate elements of both really well. I can see why Paul titled the album “Music Coming Together.” It was definitely a good fit.
Paul Green: Music Coming Together can be found at most major music retailers.
To learn more about the album, and Paul Green, visit www.paulgreenmusic.com .
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© 2016 Bruce E Von Stiers