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"The Harlem Experiment" to be released Oct 30, 2007

Nancie Schwartz Martin sends this very interesting press release (timed nicely to go with the "A Great Day on Eldridge Street" project)

CD coverWhen you think of New York City's Harlem, you may think of James Brown at the Apollo, Duke Ellington at the Savoy or Bill Clinton's offices on 125th Street. But did you know that Harlem was also home to large numbers of Eastern European Jews in the early 20th century? Some of the grandest brownstones in the Mount Morris Park neighborhood were Jewish family homes.

Grammy-winning producer Aaron Levinson pays homage to the vibrant history of Harlem in 'The Harlem Experiment', to be released by Ropeadope Records October 30th. Featuring musicians such as clarinetist Don Byron of the Grammy-awarded Klezmatics, trombonist Steve Bernstein and many other notable jazz musicians, it showcases Harlem as melting pot and offers a uniquely klezmerized version of the Yiddish folk song "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen," with a soaring solo by Byron.

'The Harlem Experiment' Due Next in Tastemaker Label's Innovative City "Experiment" Series

Full Album Available for Pre-Order via www.ropeadope.com; Two Tracks Available on iTunes Now

Ropeadope to release 'The Harlem Experiment' on October 30

On October 30, indie label Ropeadope will release 'The Harlem Experiment,' the third installment in their city "experiment" series. The "experiment" albums are jazz-inspired collaborations by well-known local musicians who set out to capture the sound and spirit of their hometowns.

The first two in the series focus on Philadelphia (music provided by ?uestlove Ahmir Thompson, Christian McBride, and Uri Cane) and Detroit (featuring Regina Carter, Marcus Belgrave, Bennie Maupin and others). So why Harlem? According to label president Andy Blackman Hurwitz: "The history, the present and the future. We look to Harlem as ground zero for all that is modern day 'American' music—whether you call it jazz, R&B, hip-hop or rock, all of it passed through the neighborhood's gates."

'The Harlem Experiment' takes on the melting pot identity of Harlem, from the early Jewish enclaves to the epicenter of African-American culture to the Latin legacy of Spanish Harlem titans like Tito Puente and Eddie Palmieri. The Harlem House Band features Carlos Alomar (guitar, David Bowie), Eddy Martinez (keys, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, Run D.M.C.), Steven Bernstein (trumpet, Sex Mob), Steve Berrios (drums, Chick Corea), Don Byron (clarinet, The Klezmatics, Vernon Reid) and Ruben Rodriguez (bass, Tito Puente). Grammy Award-Winning producer Aaron Levinson, creator of the Spanish Harlem Orchestra, produced the album.

An audio homage to Harlem would clearly have to include jazz, funk and hip-hop, given that Harlem is synonymous with James Brown's 'Live At The Apollo' and Duke Ellington's "Stompin' At The Savoy." 'The Harlem Experiment' does just that with its' big beats, horns, and swagger. But the project also digs deep into Harlem's illustrious roots and gives shout-outs to the Jewish and Spanish communities that also helped to create one of the coolest neighborhoods in the world. It makes sense that Latin rhythms are laced throughout the jazz and hip-hop of tracks like "One For Jackie," and "It's Just Begun." It makes sense that the Klezmer style of Don Byron's clarinet transcends the playful jazz on "Reefer Man" and the funkified Yiddish folk song "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen."

'The Harlem Experiment' achieves a mighty task: summing up the cultural rainbow of Harlem in 50 minutes of music. Listen to this album and 100 years of Harlem begins to unfold in your ears.

Pre-Order the album at www.ropeadope.com. "A Rose In Spanish Harlem," featuring James Hunter and "Reefer Man," featuring Taj Mahal, are now available for purchase on iTunes.

Track Listing:

  1. Intro
  2. One for Jackie (featuring the Harlem Experiment House Band)
  3. Rigor Mortis (featuring the Harlem Experiment House Band)
  4. Reefer Man (featuring Taj Mahal on vocals)
  5. Harlem River Drive (featuring Steven Bernstein on trumpet)
  6. Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen (featuring Don Byron on clarinet)
  7. Mums Interlude
  8. It's Just Begun (featuring Larry Legend on turntables)
  9. Mambo a la Savoy (featuring Carlos Alomar on guitar)
  10. A Rose in Spanish Harlem (featuring James Hunter on vocals & guitar)
  11. One For Malcolm (featuring Malcolm X)
  12. 'Lil Bit (featuring DJ Mums on the mic)
  13. Think (featuring Queen Esther on vocals)
  14. A Rose in Spanish Harlem (Instrumental)
  15. Walking Through Harlem (featuring Olu Dara on vocals, guitar & pocket trumpet)