Half Notes: Ben Perowsky – Camp Songs (2003)

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Even though I have been burned many times in the past, I still tend to take chances on projects on John Zorn’s Tzadik label. I tend to steer away from his pure-noise exploration, as I simply don’t have the appreciation for it that I wish I did, but I have, more often than not, found great joy in the music represented by his Radical Jewish Culture releases. This was one of them: Ben Perowsky, a veteran jazz drummer, served up a bunch of takes on Jewish prayers he learned at, as the title suggests, camp. Where a title like “Camp Songs” might’ve scared some listeners off, with visions of camp fire sing-alongs of “Kumbayah” and other such treats, the album really was exactly what one would expect given any familiarity with “Jewish Music” as represented by John Zorn. A big, fun album full of up-tempo, slightly Klezmer-inspired jazz tunes, it was, actually, one of the least “ethnic” sounding albums I’ve heard in the Radical Jewish Culture series, and could be enjoyed by anyone with any interest in post-bop jazz.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson has contributed to Blogcritics, and maintained a series of stand-alone sites including Known Johnson, Everything is a Mess and others. He studied both creative writing and then studio art at Arizona State. Contact Something Else! at [email protected]
Tom Johnson
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