Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Jump Babylon – Soldier Woman

Soldier Woman
Jump Babylon

(This review is from the September 10, 2012 issue of the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin.)

For the past decade, the Montreal-based Shtreiml, led by inventive harmonica and keyboard player Jason Rosenblatt, has been one of Canada’s most innovative klezmer bands. But, sometimes the klezmorim just want to play some rock and roll (and write some rock and roll songs). So Rosenblatt and several Shtreiml band mates, singer-guitarist Adam Stotland, trombonist Rachel Lemisch and drummer Thierry Arsenault, along with bassist Joel Kerr and horn players James Rhodes and Andrew Skowronski formed Jump Babylon.

The newly-released Soldier Woman is Jump Babylon’s debut release and the 11 songs – 10 written by Rosenblatt, one by Stotland – mostly focus on Jewish or Israeli themes.

Among the highlights is “Canada,” a rootsy rock song sung from the perspective of an elderly Holocaust survivor looking back on the life he built for himself in this country after the war. Another is “Zion,” a celebration of both the city of Jerusalem and the end of Jewish exile, and a defiant rejection to those who would delegitimize Israel. The most fun song is “The Bride,” a hilarious recounting of typical Jewish weddings as perceived by the hired musicians.

Stylistically, Jump Babylon moves from rock to ska and reggae rhythms – even to New Orleans-style jazz.

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