Ben Perowsky: Shema (Shaharit)


Shema (Shaharit)


Ben Perowsky (drums)


Camp Songs (Tzadik 7175)

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Ben Perowsky (drums), Uri Caine (piano), Drew Gress (bass).

Traditional, arranged by Ben Perowsky


Recorded: New York, 2002


Rating: 86/100 (learn more)

Ben Perowsky is a dynamic drummer who has successfully balanced work in straight-ahead jazz, experimental/free jazz, and rock/pop music over the last twenty years, with sideman credits including James Moody, Rickie Lee Jones, Mike Stern, John Scofield, and John Lurie’s Lounge Lizards, among many others. A highlight from his thriving career as a bandleader is Camp Songs, a piano trio session featuring Uri Caine and Drew Gress made for John Zorn’s Tzadik label.

As it turns out, Perowsky’s camp songs were Jewish songs, and his modest, musical arrangements of some of Judaism’s most commonly sung (and agonizingly catchy) tunes are presented here, not at all as a vehicle for tongue-in-cheekness but rather a genuine attempt to adapt sung prayer into jazz melody. While the first few tracks are the most recognizable, “Shema (Shaharit)” is a deconstructed mid-record highlight. These three musicians meld perfectly here – Perowsky’s brushes-then-sticks work shows that he’s mastered the art of placing straight sixteenth notes in various spaces within a swing groove, and Caine’s and Gress’s two-as-one movements simultaneously display Caine’s rhythmically modern, classically melodic phrasing and Gress’s unrelenting harmonic aid. A personal and personable track.

Reviewer: Eric Novod


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