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Midrash Mish Mosh

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Album Review

After appearing on recordings for more than a decade, Aaron Alexander steps up with an all-original program for his debut album, Midrash Mish Mosh. This is plugged-in, amped-up Jewish music (like Hasidic New Wave), and the band puts a lot of muscle behind it. In fact, everyone in Hasidic New Wave but Dave Fiuczynski is on this album (with additional players), but this recording is less rock-oriented than that band. The tunes themselves are quite catchy and hummable, but the raging electric guitars and furious blowing that sometimes accompany them may take some listeners by surprise (although this is another entry in the Radical Jewish Culture series). "Kleyzmish Moshpit" opens with a few blasts of noise before launching into a frenzied dance tune that ultimately deconstructs in fabulous fashion before closing up with the main theme again. They bring the energy down just a bit for "Kaddish for Carmen," but they remain pretty exuberant throughout. The dual drums of Alexander and Michael Sarin add plenty of drive but never get in the way, and the soloists are all stellar. This is probably some of guitarist Brad Shepik's wildest, most distorted work (check out "Der Rumsisker Maggid/Shema"!), and anyone who's been following the avant Jewish scene knows what kind of fireworks Frank London and Greg Wall can provide. Merlin Shepherd (clarinet) and Curtis Hasselbring (trombone) match them stride for stride, with Fima Ephron holding down the bottom on bass. This album isn't for the strict traditionalists, but it sure is fun and almost certain to get even the goys moving.

Biography

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Drummer Aaron Alexander is a multifaceted musician known for playing progressive jazz, but also ethnic fusion and modern creative music, both as an accompanist and a leader. He grew up in Seattle and played classical violin in his youth, attending Eckstein Middle School, the Nova Project, and Roosevelt High School, where Waldo King directed his jazz band. Alexander began private studies with Jerry Granelli through Cornish College of the Arts, then enrolled at Cornish, studying with Granelli, Jay...
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Midrash Mish Mosh, Aaron Alexander
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