On an otherwise unremarkable day in 1938, a chubby but charming student at John Burroughs Junior High in Los Angeles “cracked the code of his comic gift and discovered his life’s work,” as we learn in “Overweight Sensation: The Life and Comedy of Allan Sherman” by Mark Cohen (Brandeis, $29.95), a penetrating biography by a savvy observer of show business.
For most Jews, the word Kaddish evokes images of loss, mourning, death. But for Hal Willner, “Kaddish” is a spoken-word piece — some would call it poetry — by Allen Ginsberg that evokes a very different image: family.
This Arab-Jewish ensemble, composed of three members of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and four musicians from Israel’s Arab community, performs a concert for peace in honor of Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel’s 65th birthday. Sun. 4-6 p.m. Free. Wilshire Boulevard Temple, Irmas Campus, 11661 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles. (424) 208-8932.
Speaking by phone from Montreal, Israeli-born cellist Matt Haimovitz revealed that he’s a great admirer of the American singer Nina Simone. Looking at his life and career, one can easily see why. Like Simone, Haimovitz is admired for his solid classical grounding, eclecticism, improvisatory brilliance and the fact that he defies easy classification.
Cigarette in one hand and cup of tea in the other, Matisyahu sat down with JTA in his closet-sized dressing room during his European tour to talk about his life, his music, how he's raising his kids, and the recent changes in his religious outlook and physical appearance.
After facing down a formidable Milken Community High School sound system and the best vocal efforts of the knights of “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” who inadvertently “crashed” a recent rehearsal, the feat of harmonizing with 250 singers during a pair of sold-out concerts at New York City’s Lincoln Center should be a cakewalk for one local Jewish choir.
Celebrate the Jewish people’s deliverance from Egyptian slavery with Pesach events that begin well before the first seder on March 25.
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons is bringing his passion for Jewish-Muslim relations to the West Coast.
On a freezing Friday night in Brooklyn, a group of 18 Crown Heights residents scurry through the crowds of Jews leaving synagogue and make their way to a second-story apartment on Rogers Avenue for Shabbat dinner.
Gil Shaham does his most eloquent speaking with his violin, but as a recent interview by phone from his home in New York revealed, he’s not a bad singer either.
Newspaper-reading Angelenos may recognize the byline Robert Lloyd. What they may not know is that the Los Angeles Times television critic once was more concerned with singing about a “Bitchen Party” than with covering the Golden Globes, which take place this year on Jan. 13.
A dozen members of Kol Sephardic Choir stood in a semicircle, clutching songbooks as they rehearsed the lyrics of “Quando el Rey Nimrod.” Halfway through the Ladino folk song, music director Avi Avliav held his hands up and told the group to stop.
December always brings a torrent of Christmas-themed recordings by musical artists of all stripes. If you’re at all serious about longevity in a recording career, you record an album of holiday music — the sooner, the better.
When musician Ken Elkinson began receiving kudos for his Christmas album, he knew it was time to return to his roots.
It takes more than a lineup substitution — even a major lineup substitution — to rattle the Israeli Chamber Project (ICP). The circumstances that will bring the company — which offers a rotating roster of musicians from Israel and elsewhere — to make its Southland debut on Nov. 30 in a Da Camera Society concert at the Doheny Mansion were fortuitous, if not a bit tumultuous. How about two of the three originally scheduled musicians bowing out?
During these trying days, the Israel Defense Forces is getting a powerful boost of support from an unexpected source: Stevie Wonder. The singer is set to perform at the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces annual gala in Los Angeles on Dec. 6.
Cellist Alisa Weilerstein grew up in a thriving Jewish community in Cleveland, where before she became a bat mitzvah, she had already made her debut at age 13 with the Cleveland Orchestra.
Music historians will remember Witold Lutoslawski (1913-1994) as one of the greatest symphonists of the 20th century. The Los Angeles Philharmonic remembers him as a partner, an artistic collaborator and a regular part of the orchestra’s programming.
It is not often nowadays that you find Jews and Muslims coming together to celebrate anything — especially when Israel is involved.
For Chris Hardin, converting to Judaism was a family affair. In November 1994, Hardin, then 38, stepped into the mikveh. That day, his daughter and wife did the same.
The storied Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, founded as the Palestine Symphony Orchestra 12 years before the rebirth of the Jewish state, and its music-director-for-life Zubin Mehta, will join in concert on Oct. 30 at Disney Hall.
When Zubin Mehta takes the stage at the Disney Concert Hall on Oct. 30 to conduct the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO), most in the audience will know that they’re hearing a world-class orchestra. Very few will realize, however, that the IPO’s founding was integral to the origins of the modern Jewish state. That beginning not only inaugurated the arts in Israel, but it was coupled with the saving of untold numbers of Jews from the Holocaust. Now that story is being told on the big screen in director Josh Aronson’s “Orchestra of Exiles,” in first-run screenings at selected Laemmle theaters beginning Nov. 2.
Few can chronicle the changes in the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra better than Gabriel Vole, a veteran double bass player.
“Unless I’m crazy, we played this song the last time we were here,” singer/songwriter Jakob Dylan told a packed audience mid-show at the Henry Fonda Theatre.
Israeli conductor Zubin Mehta was awarded a Presidential Medal of Distinction by Israeli President Shimon Peres.
In 1986, it wasn’t unusual to find 17-year-old Rami Jaffee, a lanky, scruffy-looking longhair in a Grateful Dead tie-dye T-shirt, improvising on the grand piano in Fairfax High School’s auditorium during recess. Cut to Sept. 6, 2012, on stage in Charlotte, N.C. Jaffee, 43, his long locks shorn, jammed with Dave Grohl and the rest of the Foo Fighters at the Democratic National Convention.
The long history of Jews in Iran is associated with honorable achievements in business, science and the arts. There have been many Jewish writers, poets and musicians throughout Iranian history, although many of their valuable works have been destroyed because of the frequent immigrations of Jews over the centuries.
The Red Hot Chili Peppers made their first visit to Israel on Sept. 10, but the band member who stole the show wasn’t even onstage. Hillel Slovak – the group’s Israeli-American guitarist and co-founder – died tragically of a heroin overdose in 1988, but his presence was felt throughout every moment of the raucous performance in Tel Aviv.