JASON ROSENBLATT & ORKESTRA SEVERNI
(A version of this review is published in the Ottawa Jewish Bulletin.)
Jason Rosenblatt established his initial reputation by playing harmonica and leading Shtreiml, an inventive klezmer band based in Montreal. He has since branched out with other projects including Jump Babylon, a rock band featuring songs on Jewish themes, and a solo album steeped in jazz, blues and roots influences.
On Brass Fabulous, Jason is at the piano with Orkestra Severni, a group of horn players and a drummer – including his wife, trombonist Rachel Lemisch – playing a set of original compositions steeped in klezmer and other Eastern European traditions.
Among the highlights are “Sirba a la Oscar,” a three-part dance with sirba, hora and freylach sections; “A Mother’s Pain,” which has a sadder motif than most of the rest of the album; and the inventive “Chassidic Love Tango,” which adds a South American touch to the Eastern European base of most of the music.
The album is well-named because Jason's compositions are constructed to highlight the sounds of the horns – tuba, trombone, trumpet and saxophone – and they really do sound fabulous.