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Listening Post: Schizophronia’s ‘Cantorial Recordings Re-Imagined’

Avant-Jazz Fusion

Schizophronia, Cantorial Recordings Re-Imagined (Blue Thread). How cool a disc is this? Courtesy of New York City avant-rock/jazz guitarist Yoshie Fruchter and his nicely named band Schizophronia, we’ve got some of the greatest hits from the early-20th Century era when, as the publicity would have it, “ prayer music was popular and cantors were like rockstars.” Or, as the publicity also puts it “Rosenblatt Meets Radiohead” (Rosenblatt referring to Yossele Rosenblatt, a brisk seller in the early-20th century cantorial music business.) What Fruchter and his group do with this music is so far past unimaginable that it almost sets up an entirely new kind of individualism in music.The music is guitar driven, with no fear of either heavy-metal juggernaut riffs or guitar pastorales, all of it meant to give brand new ears to such Cantorial Jewish favorites as “Tzuk Chayenu, “Shik Hashirim” and “Hineni.” Think of what happened when Ray Charles took the gospel song “I Got Jesus” and turned it into “I Got A Woman” and you’ve got the 21st century equivalent of what Fruchter and his wild and woolly bunch are doing with this music which no one in their right mind ever thought would come out like this. Wild, truly wild. ½ (Jeff Simon)

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