Paul Brody's Sadawi / Kabbalah Dream

another obscure tzadik album cover of building upon building upon older building Paul Brody's Sadawi
Kabbalah Dream
Tzadik Records, TZ 7163, 2002


The title track and opening song "Kabalah Dreams" opens with a harsh funk, that periodically devolves into a frantic klezmer-derived progression, then opens out into a Miles Davis-style space before returning to its klezmer roots. The piece nicely showcases trumpeter Paul Brody's latest ensemble as a delightful, hard-edged fusion of klezmer and jazz. Later, on the composer's reworking of the traditional "Sadawi" the band shows an entirely different side to intensity, but never losing its tightness or edge or drive.

The inventiveness and scope of the opening number foreshadow the fun yet to come. This is a very exciting jazz album that incorporates a wide variety of Ashkenazic Jewish elements. As I wrote elsewhere, recently, this is a rare Tzadik album that actually seems to have something to propose in terms of fusing Jewish and Jazz and coming up with something new, something approaching the edges of what we know musically. It's also impossible not to enjoy an album with song titles as delightful as "Holy Man's Hum" or "Buber's Big Boat." The latter especially seems to embody the spaciousness and even I-Thou connectedness of such a name. Other lighter moments include "Sleeping on a Rock" which gives room for everyone in the band short solos before Brody's own lyric trumpet returns to tie things together.

This is also the sort of album that breaks a bit away from the Tzadik sound. There is the usual clarity, but the music feels far more original than most. If it resemble's anyone's work it is that of the other band that doesn't fit Tzadik's categories well, Naftule's Dream. That may come as much as having Eric Rosenthal, that band's long-time drummer, along with Boston regular (and I believe, new Naftule's Dream member) Brandon Seabrook on banjo, guitar, and electronics. The relaxed energy and nice integration with the rest of Berlin-based Brody's ensemble is wonderful.

I have to say, as I did on the first album, how much I enjoy what Brody is doing, and how inventive I feel his music is. From that opening funk klezmer, to the closer bells of "(Born) Smaller than a Banana," this album is worth listening to, and a pleasure to listen to. Brody has fused a variety of Jewish musics with jazz in a way that is both approachable (albeit, not excessively so) and yet retains edginess and progressive elements. It's a pleasure.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow 8/9/03

Personnel this recording:
Paul Brody: trumpet
Jan Hermerschmidt: clarinet, bass clarinet
Brandon Seabrook: banjo, guitar, electronics
Martin Lillich: bass
Eric Rosenthal: drums


  1. Kabbalah Dream 6:33
  2. Holy Man's Hum (trad., Brody) 6:18
  3. Buber's Big Boat 6:59
  4. When Two Sing 5:55
  5. Sleeping on a Rock 6:17
  6. Floating Sabbath (trad., Brody) 5:16
  7. Sadawi (trad., Brody) 7:33
  8. (Born) Smaller than a banana 4:30

to top of page To top of page

the KlezmerShack Ari's home page
to About the Jewish-music mailing list
to The Klezmer Shack main page
to Ari Davidow's home page