Jazz duo lights up Hot Jazz series in Israel

Dennis Lichtman is used to keeping multiple balls in the air at the same time, literally.

In a YouTube clip of a picturesque number called “String-Pickin ‘Fiddle-Bowin’ Horn-Blowin ‘Fool,” Lichtman flits through a seemingly inexhaustible instrumental catalog that includes violin, clarinet, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and saxophone. He tops that lot with, yeah, some real juggling.

“Yes, I do a lot of things,” laughs Lichtman. “I keep busy.”

He came up with the idea for the funny video, particularly the flow of instrumental change, from one of the titans of American roots music. “It was inspired by a video with a great rockabilly guitar and a violin and a player of all kinds named Joe Maphis. He was a country and rockabilly legend. He had a song called ‘Pickin’ and Singin ‘. Sing a quick verse and then play a guitar like hell, and then sing another verse and then play a banjo, then a mandolin and then hit a bass. “

The Maphis slot allows for a smile-inducing thigh pounding display, and Lichtman’s version is a worthy contemporary reprise.

Some of the aforementioned means of making music will appear on his impending tour of the country, along with another brilliant multi-instrumentalist, Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton, under the aegis of the Hot Jazz series.

Emeo, the world’s first digital practice trumpet for saxophonists. (Credit: EMEO TEAM LTD / ILYA YAKOVLEV) (Credit: EMEO TEAM LTD / ILYA YAKOVLEV.)

The two artists, who have a clear penchant for early sunny jazz vibes, open at the Jerusalem Theater on November 8 (9 p.m.), with five more concerts scheduled for Herzliya, Kfar Saba, Tel Aviv and Haifa through the 13th. of November.

In fact, if you’re looking to get a feel for Lichtman’s musical spread, the YouTube video provides a delightful account of his instrumental evolution, delivered in a highly entertaining style. All of which bodes well for the sponsors of the Hot Jazz series.

As Jacob’s Ladder festival worshipers can attest, Paxton also offers the products, engaging and engaging audiences with its silky musicality and irresistible joie de vivre.

Lichtman is presented as an equally cheerful character. It was that desire to smile while playing and bring joy to everyone that led him in the direction of the carefree sounds of early jazz.

“I’ve wondered a lot about that myself,” Lichtman confesses.

He went out on his musical path at a tender age and in definitely serious climates.

“I started with classical violin lessons, when I was five years old, and shortly afterwards with classical clarinet lessons,” he recalls.

Given its domestic origin, that was perfectly natural.

“My mother listened to a lot of classical music at home, so I was always close to the melody. I played melodic instruments when I was little and was always drawn to melody. When I listened to classical music at home, it was always the melodies that caught my attention. “

On the other hand, that did not mean that the young man would stay with Beethoven, Mozart et al. “As time went by, I became more and more drawn to other styles of music, you know, rock and all kinds of things. In high school I got an electric guitar and followed that path for a while. “

It’s hard to think of a musical domain that is much further away from his current vehicle of sonic expression, but back then the young man was into some decibel pumping stuff. “I loved Jimi Hendrix. It was my absolute favorite for years. “

Lichtman is clearly an expert at going with the flow and changing course, and not looking back, when an epiphanic moment hits.

He was delighted with the music of American roots.

“I discovered bluegrass and started going to bluegrass festivals,” he notes, adding that he was also drawn to the rawness and elemental nature of the genre, and the practical side of things, as well as the sense of camaraderie. “There’s a very community aspect to bluegrass festivals where all day long you can hear these great legendary musicians perform on stage, and then all night long in camps you play melodies and improvisations and hang out and play. music in community. “

Despite his classic childhood training, Lichtman was still a novice to bluegrass activities, but was courted by the beginner-friendly usability of the genre. “The structure of that music is simplistic. It is a branch of country music. Chord structures are simplistic. If you know how to play three chords, you can participate. “

Still, the kid had a long way to go before he could mix it up with the pros. “It takes a lifetime to master and of course write great songs and pour emotion into your performance, but the barrier to entry is very low.”

Since those long-eyed days, Lichtman has expanded his toolbox and honed his gaming skills appreciably. The seeds of his musical career were well and truly sown back then, as he glided smoothly and joyfully into a very different fraternity and feeling. “I started playing music in very social and community ways that were completely different from classical, which is much more rigid and structured, not only in the musical form, but also in terms of how it is rehearsed and performed.”

Lichtman was ready and prepared to let his hair down, and has been following that merry avenue ever since. “The more I got into that kind of acoustic roots music, the more I was drawn to other styles of music that had those same things in common.”

THE LICHTMAN-PAXTON sets here will feed on all those sentiments, as well as hatching to some of the major lights of America’s musical backdrop.

On his album Just Cross The River, which he composed in 2016, Lichtman greeted some of the unsung heroes who moved to his current New York City backyard in years past.

“I wrote original melodies, mostly swing-style, that were inspired by stories of jazz legends who had migrated to the unglamorous borough of Queens. Which is where Jerron and I live, ”he laughs.

Lichtman may have been initially drawn to the accessibility of music, but he dug into the deepest seams in history before embarking on the project. He enlisted the help of an illustrious expert in the field.

“I called Vince Giordano,” he says, referring to the Grammy-winning saxophonist and frontman of the New York-based Nighthawks Orchestra, which specializes in jazz and dance styles of the 1920s and 1930s.

“Vince is an encyclopedia of any published music from around that time,” says Lichtman. “I asked him if he knew of any music published before 1950 that had any reference to Queens.”

There were extremely fine crops.

“He went through his database of 50,000 songs and found one,” laughs Lichtman.

That song, from 1927, which Lichtman describes as “not very good and dumb”, was called “Just Cross the River from Queens.” Hence the name of the Lichtman album.

Possibly the most revered jazzman of all, living in Queens, was one Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, and Lichtman and Paxton paid tribute to the great trumpeter and vocalist by playing the number on the steps of Armstrong’s former residence, the Louis Armstrong House. . Museum on 107th Street.

The spirit of the late Queens resident pioneer and other envelope dealers of his day are sure to captivate audiences for the Hot Jazz series this week, presented with a captivating combination of sizzling instrumental prowess and unapologetic bonhomie.

For tickets and more information: (03) 573-3001 and http://eng.hotjazz.co.il


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