Zeroing in on the line-up for our next album-on-a-shoestring project. I was calling it my last album, but that’s kind of depressing, ain’t it? Well, can’t have that. Still, making this album as if it were my last, that’s just good philosophy at work. After all, we mortals don’t ever know of a certainty what’s going to happen. Best to do it the best we can now, whatever it is.
I was going to name the upcoming magnum opus “Tatt 2” after a character in one of the funnier songs, but I’m not completely sold on the idea. It will be an album of broader themes, like divestiture of material objects to achieve peace, letting go of anger, and flying pigs. Still, the ‘tramp stamp’ image is a memorable and provocative one. I’ll give it some more thought.
Maybe “Pigs on the Wing.” Nah, that would never be popular…
TKFC was a big hit at the Northeastern University Chanukah Party at the Curry Student Center this past Wednesday. We played two straight hours with no break, mostly klezmer with a few Chanukah tunes in the middle for a good crowd of NU students. Steve, the clarinet player and conscience of the band made latkes at Tuesday rehearsal, and there was more latkes on Wednesday at the party.
Then on Friday Steve, Lisa and I from TKFC sat in as we often do with the Shabbat Band at Temple Ohabei Shalom Friday night to back up the liturgy, play more Chanukah songs and eat more latkes. We are good at both making music and eating latkes.
This afternoon we will donate our services to the Mishkan Tefila congregation for their Chanukah celebration at the Kehillath Israel temple. Do you think there will be latkes? I hope so. 🙂
On Wednesday night, December 13, Too Klez For Comfort will be at the Curry Student Center Indoor Quad at Northeastern University to play two hours of klezmer dance music in celebration of Chanukah. See the poster below for details. Open to the public. Be prepared to dance your tuchas off.
Tom Rubenoff Music is a network of musical friends. It is my extreme good fortune to know so many people who are both very talented and genuinely nice folks – a combination of attributes that tends to be a rare and beautiful thing. My friends have enhanced my musical and personal life and I am very grateful. It is from this pool of rare, fine individuals that I draw talent to play out at private parties and public places. Everybody has fun.
This weekend I got together with friends and made some video to promote our swing music. It was so much fun making music together. We did some of that four-beat swing groove you hear in early Count Basie, so dance-able, and also a couple of jazz standards and one New Orleans style piece. I know we’re all looking forward to seeing the video and hearing ourselves – a chance to relive a good time and to learn a little, too. You’ll be able to see the fruits of our labor here soon.
I am very interested in taking this particular group out to play. I’ll let you know when and where.
Had a lovely time this week with David Sparr and the folks at Temple Ohabei Shalom getting together the Reggae Shabbat service. We had one rehearsal without the rhythm section and then – boom! – Reggae Shabbot on Friday night. The event was in honor of David who has been phenomenal as Music Director at TOS for 18 amazing years. I was honored to play a small part, and it was tremendously fun, too.
The rhythm section was greatly enhanced by Danny “Mo” Morris on bass, bassist for the James Montgomery Blues Band and the Jon Pousette-Dart band, and Tony “Thunder” Smith who played with Lou Reed and recorded with Jeff Beck, Jan Hammer, Papa John Creach, Santana, John McLaughlin, and many others. We definitely rocked the house. Leave it to David Sparr to pull something fantastic together. As was remarked later at the oneg after the service, he has unparalleled attention to detail and (if I may add) boundless energy.
I was up in the corner in the horn section, blending. That’s what you do: blend. I did it pretty well, considering. 🙂
After a busy week last week we have a lull to catch our breath – who needs it? But it’s all good. Took the time to record a solo work – just me and the computer. It was really a nice collaboration – I think it brought us much closer. Anyway, you can hear my effort at BandCamp by clicking on these words: “Click Here.”
In other news, as I continue to work on the song list for our next recording session I am working on album art – cartoons to match my cartoony life. One of the tunes will be “Love Bullet”, a bluesy number with the kind of crunchy dissonant harmonies I love. Also on this upcoming album I intend to make an honest woman out of “Home By Myself”, preserving the ditty for posterity. I like libraries and am proud my stuff is in the Library of Congress.
If you would like to support our recording efforts the perfect way to do it is to buy our music on CD Baby or BandCamp. At BandCamp you can elect to pay way too much money which, of course, would be a big help. Thank you for your continued support, be it artistic or material.
Too Klez For Comfort has two Simchat Torah celebrations this week! On Thursday night we play at a private party, but on Friday night we’ll be at Temple Ohabei Shalom at 1187 Beacon Street in Brookline, Massachusetts, playing frenetic freylachs while folks dance with the scrolls in the street. Members of TKFC have played Simchat Torah at TOS before, but this is the first time we are really there as us for that particular simcha. Kind of a milestone. So stop by if you’re in the neighborhood.
In other news, I’m narrowing down my list for the next Rubenoff Project album. I’ll get back to you on that. 🙂
Way, way back around toward the beginning of the last century, Jewish musicians from Eastern Europe began to show up in New York, among them some of my own ancestors. Sometimes these musicians made their way within the Jewish community and sometimes they crossed over into the swing bands of the era.
If you look hard enough, you can find recordings of klezmer bands that play the “A” section of a tune klezmer style and then swing the “B” section, or vice versa, all in the same tune. One of the most famous examples of klezmer/swing crossover is the tune,“Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen,” made famous by the Andrews sisters. Not surprisingly this tune makes a frequent appearance in the repertoire of our klezmer band, Too Klez For Comfort, sung by lead singer, Lisa Geller.
I hope you’ll be on the lookout for her (and our) next public appearance. I’ll be sure and let you know.
Be sure to stop by Saturday while Too Klez For Comfort is delivering our set at the Roslindale Porchfest this Saturday, Sept. 16th, at 4:30 PM. We’ll be at 12 Colberg Ave., but if you arrive on foot you’ll be able to hear us for a radius of a few blocks at least, that’s for sure. Not folks to always play the same old stuff, we have been fine tuning our set list for you.
More Klezmer is happening Sunday down at the Dance Boston event in Dewey Square in South Station, starting at 3PM. Not us, but some all time great local Klezmer talent will be there. I would go because klezmer is so great, but I’ve got plans.
Most likely I will be at Chianti Restaurant and Lounge in Beverly, Massachusetts from 3 to 6 PM for their jam session. I had a great time last time. This time I’ll sing a couple of my tunes with their burning hot rhythm section.
Be well, everybody, and be sure to get out there and enjoy some music.
We’ve been working on repertoire for the Tom Rubenoff Swing Orchestra, digging back into the origins of swing dance music for material with titles like “Jive at Five” and “Stompin’ at the Savoy.” Primary to this music is the groove – the four-beat bass and the bounce that makes it go. I have to say the players have an affinity for it – that is to say they really cook. Very much looking forward to keeping the dancers on their feet for the whole set. If they’re having enough fun they don’t sit down.
Meantime The Rubenoff Project is good to record a new album in hopefully the near future as opposed to the distant future. This will be a more rock / R & B centered collection. It will feature some pieces about twisted relationships in the same vein as “Songs of Love, Despair and Regret” as well as some tunes about mindfulness and equanimity. As always an eclectic assortment in a range of styles. T
If you would like to support our efforts to put together this new album, a great way to do that is to buy our music through Bandcamp. There you can choose to pay more for a song or an album. Income from online sales goes directly into funding future work. Thanks in advance for your support.