Jerusalem Jazz Band /
Songs My Father Played

Album cover: Playful, colorful child-colored 'dad' graphic and 90s type.

The Jerusalem Jazz Band
Songs My Father Played

Ffortissimo, FF 9401, 1994
Available from

Every so often something happens to make me realize how mixed up music and the world in general have become. For instance, to whom would it have occurred that one of only two "Dixie-Freilach" bands of which I am aware--this group and Henry Sapoznik's (and Pete Sokolow's et al) Original Klezmer Jazz Band would be based in Jerusalem, Israel. Needless to say, this could only happen if the group's originator came to Jerusalem from the former Soviet Union to carry on his father's musical legacy. What else. As we all know, the Ukraine was a hotbed of Dixieland jazz, which goes with pepper vodka and cossacks like pickled herring and shnapps.

What also matters is that the band is hot. I'm glad that they do a few freylakh-based numbers so that I can pretend that they have some connection to klez and review them here. In particular, I note their "Freilach March" and an entire world of everything--Dixie, klez, and smoking jazz in general, as embodied in "Aharon," followed by a totally thumpa thumpa honest "Sweet Georgia Brown." If I have a complaint, it is that the band could slow down occasionally. I really don't think "Bei Mir Bist du Shein" needs to be played as if driving down Highway 5 from California's Central Valley to Los Angeles. They got it right on the "St. Louis Blues," so it isn't as though the band doesn't know how to take its time and leave us space to take the aural photographs.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 7/19/97

Personnel this recording:
Boris Gammer: leader, arranger, clarinet
Stanislav Kunin: soprano saxophone
Aaron Chankin: tenor saxophone
Yosi Regev: trombone
Jean Claude Jones: banjo, guitar
Eduard Rozonov: bass
Michael Markovitch: drums

Earlier members:
Shmulik Kovalski: soprano saxophone (9-13, recorded 1989)
Meer Zibul: trombone (9-13, recorded 1989)
Thierry Wider: banjo, guitar (9-13, recorded 1989)

Stas Kunin: clarinet (14)


  1. Turi Turi (trad., Odessa) 2:19
  2. Rebbi Elimelech (trad.) 3:22
  3. Improvisation (Boris Gammer) 1:07
  4. Freilach March (trad.) 2:16
  5. Masha (trad., Odessa) 3:33
  6. Some of These Days (S. Brooks) 2:43
  7. Dixie-Freilach (Aharon Gammer) 4:14
  8. Persiada (trad.) 2:12
  9. Indiana (MacDonald & Hanley) 2:49
  10. Aharon (Aharon Gammer) 4:44
  11. Sweet Georgia Brown (Casey, Bernie, Pinkard) 3:54
  12. St. Louis Blues (W.C. Handy) 6:38
  13. Bei Mir Bist Du Schein (Jacobs, Secunda, Cahn, Chaplin) 3:17
  14. Freilach (trad.) 3:02
  15. Improvisation (Boris Gammer) 0:56
  16. Sheina Vi Levuna (Beautiful like the moon) (Yiddish folk tune) 2:13
  17. Keitzad Merakdim (How they dance) (trad.) 2:55

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