Saturday, December 29, 2012

Jazzing It Up in Leonia

So, in my role as president of Congregation Adas Emuno, a Reform synagogue in Bergen County, New Jersey, I've had some quotes included in articles appearing in the local Leonia Life community newspaper put out by the North Jersey Media Group, as noted in my previous posts, Congregation and Community and Reconnected. Okay, so here we go again.

The latest article was published on December 21st, entitled Adas Emuno Jazzes Up the Holiday Season in Leonia., and it begins with the following:

Eugene Marlow's Heritage Ensemble came to Congregation Adas Emuno to bring a lively, multi-cultural mix of music to Leonia on Dec. 1.

Before going any further, I should mention that I was the one who organized the concert, the second time we've had them play at Adas Emuno And I should also mention that Gene Marlow, aside from being a jazz composer and performer, is also a professor of communication at Baruch College in New York City, and a graduate of the good old media ecology program back in the halcyon days of Neil Postman and Christine Nystrom.  You can read all about Gene and his band on website, and I give the Heritage Ensemble my highest recommendation, I might add, they are just amazing!  So anyway, let's return to the article, and this is where I come in:

"They preformed for about an hour and the repertoire comes from taking Hebraic melodies and turning them into jazz compositions," said Lance Strate, President of the Congregation. "It's a kind of multi-cultural approach where there is a Latin rhythm section and sometimes we get Latin beats, Afro-Cuban beats and sometimes we get a Mediterranean touch to it."

Guests, including both members of the congregation and visitors, were entertained by a variety of songs.
"It's actually a wonderful mix and collaboration because the leader of the band, Eugene Marlow, comes from a Jewish background but the drummers are native New Yorkers of Puerto Rican descent," said Lance Strate. "The saxophone player is Lebanese and the bass player is German."

Oh, and by the way, the article also features a photo credited to Christopher Trento, with the following caption: "Michael Hashim, Frank Wagner, guest vocalist Shira Lissek and Matthew Gonzalez of Eugene Marlow's Heritage Ensemble perform a variety of Hebraic melodies at Congregation Adas Emuno on Dec. 1."

And the article concludes with some more quotations:

The concert began after a brief Havdallah service. The band was also joined by a singer who joined the instrumental musicians by adding her voice to a few of the songs.
"Four of the pieces that they did they did, they were joined by Shira Lisseck who is a cantorial soloist. She has preformed with symphony orchestras and has an absolutely gorgeous voice," said Strate.
At the conclusion of the concert, guests attended the congregation's Social Hall where there were light refreshments being served.
"We're hoping to make it a tradition but this is only the second time that they preformed for us but we are planning on having them back again next year," said Strate.
The congregation also recently celebrated the daily lighting of the Menorah for Hanukkah.

And that does it for the article. You might be thinking that they overdid it with the quotations, and as much as it's gratifying to see my name in print, I'd have to agree. But there is an explanation, and it also relates to the fact that all it says under the byline of this article is "CORRESPONDENT" (a curious designation indeed!). The author of the article didn't make it to the event, so the piece is based almost entirely on an interview with me on the phone.  

Frankly, it would have been better for all involved if I had just written it for them, it would have been a much better article that way, but I guess that would cross some journalistic line of some sort, or maybe it would just mean that they'd have to pay me

And maybe it's only fitting, as jazz represents a form that retrieves some aspects of oral traditional music, fusing remnants of primary orality with the new sensibility formed out of the secondary orality of electronic media, creating a kind of hybrid energy that the Heritage Ensemble so wonderfully embodies. So the article in its own way is a kind of analogue of jazz, you might say. Or maybe not...


No comments: