Eugene Marlow's The Heritage Ensemble | Celebrations: Eugene Marlow's Heritage Ensemble Interprets Festive Melodies from the Hebraic Songbook

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Celebrations: Eugene Marlow's Heritage Ensemble Interprets Festive Melodies from the Hebraic Songbook

by Eugene Marlow's The Heritage Ensemble

Eugene Marlow's Heritage Ensemble Interprets Festive Melodies from the Hebraic Songbook. The Heritage Ensemble records and performs original compositions and arrangements of Hebraic melodies in various jazz, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian, and neo-classical styles
Genre: World: World Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. Chanukah, O Chanukah (Chanukah)
5:15 $0.99
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2. Moaz Tsur (Chanukah)
4:34 $0.99
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3. Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel (Chanukah)
5:07 $0.99
clip
4. Halleluyah (Liturgy)
4:22 $0.99
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5. Layehudim Haitah Orah Ve-Simechah, Ve-Sasson, Ve-Yakar (Purim)
6:48 $0.99
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6. Yotvata (Original)
6:13 $0.99
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7. Sevivon (Chanukah)
5:12 $0.99
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8. Mishenichnas Adar Marbim Be-Simecha (Purim)
3:51 $0.99
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9. The Heritage Ensemble: Its History, Repertoire, and Philosophy
6:36 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
The Heritage Ensemble is a quintet devoted to the concert performance of Hebraic melodies in various jazz, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian styles, with a touch of classicism for good measure.

Since its first performances, both the personnel and the repertoire have evolved. Among the group’s newest members is multi-Grammy nominee drummer Bobby Sanabria (also co-producer on this album) whose broad performance and recording experience adds immeasurably to the current album.

Fellow Nuyorican, percussionist Cristian Rivera complements Sanabria’s rhythmic forays with his own virtuosity.

Saxophonist Michael Hashim’s Lebanese background and extensive performance experience (he is an NEA performance grantee) adds just the right blend of jazz and Middle-Eastern sensibilities.

Bassist Frank Wagner provides that strong bass line underpinning to the quintet’s arrangements, an element crucial to the group’s frequent, spontaneous musical departures.

The Heritage Ensemble’s first album “Making the Music Our Own” (MEII Enterprises) was released in 2006. In the last couple of years, especially with Sanabria’s and Hashim’s fresh contributions to the quintet’s concert performances, The Heritage Ensemble’s arrangements have not only grown in number, but they have also evolved. The need to record another album was obvious. The result: “Celebrations: Festive Melodies from the Hebraic Songbook.”

All the melodies on this album are in celebration of a triumph by the Jewish peoples of one kind or another. Most of the tracks are melodies from the Chanukah and Purim festivals. Although the focus is on Jewish triumphs, the contemporary world music style of The Heritage Ensemble reminds us that people of all cultures have also endured adversity and triumphed.

Over a hundred years after Alexander the Great annexed Palestine as part of his empire, the Jews succeeded in overcoming oppression by the so-called Seleucid Greek government. In celebration, the Second Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated. Oil that was supposed to have lasted one night miraculously lasted eight nights, hence Chanukah is also known as the “Festival of Lights.” There are four melodies associated with Chanukah on this album.

Purim is a festival that celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people living throughout the ancient Persian Empire from a plot by Haman the Agagite to annihilate them. According to the Book of Esther, Haman, the royal vizier to King Ahasuerus, planned to kill the Jews, but his plans were foiled by Esther, Ahasuerus’s queen. Two melodies associated with the Purim service appear on this album.

Track six, however, is an original composition written after my visit to Kibbutz Yotvata in southern Israel in the early 1980s. “Yotvata” is about the triumph of kibbutz pioneers who turned a piece of the desert into a highly successful “dairy” kibbutz in all of Israel.

The piece started out as a classical composition for solo piano. On this album the classical pianist Lebanese virtuoso Nada Loutfi performs the opening and closing portions of the “Yotvata” track. She originally recorded “Yotvata” and 19 other solo piano pieces I composed for an album entitled “Les Sentiments D’Amour” (MEII Enterprises, 2006). The balance of the track is an improvisation on the melody’s chords in a moderate swing tempo by myself on piano and Michael Hashim on saxophone.

“Halleluyah” has been included in this collection because it fits with the album’s overall theme. The text is based on Psalm 150--a celebration in praise of the Jewish God. The first line is about music itself: “Praise Him, praise him with trumpet and drum, with strings and winds and voice.” The melody is a folk melody.
Last, this album includes a track that describes The Heritage Ensemble’s history, repertoire, and philosophy. We hope this narrative provides a deeper understanding of the group’s purpose.

“Celebrations,” like its predecessor “Making the Music Our Own,” continues the group’s exploration of the “performance” possibilities of Hebraic melodies in terms of chords, rhythmic patterns, meter, and melodic structure. We hope you enjoy listening to our arrangements as much as we took pleasure in recording them.

Thanks for listening.

Eugene Marlow, Ph.D.
Founder/Arranger/Leader/Keyboards
The Heritage Ensemble
September 2010

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