American Jewish folk-rock blues
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom | Minnesota, USA | 10/01/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If I were to classify this album, I would call it "American Jewish folk-rock blues." If that sounds eclectic, well, so is the CD. "Rebbe Soul-O" is a daring creative experiment. Subtitled "a one man musical journey" (solo, soul-O, get it?), the CD is a "musical play" that should be listened to in a quiet mood, from beginning to end. (Amazon lists this as a "soundtrack," so I assume it was/is performed on stage somewhere. The CD was produced in California.) As the title suggests, vocalist Bruce Berger does indeed sing solo, but there are plenty of good musicians backing him up, so it's not exactly a one-man show. Their sound is an interesting mix of traditional Jewish tunes and original material, with instruments ranging from synthesizers to acoustic guitars and drums, to wind chimes, crickets, and ocean waves. I especially like "Song of Angels," which is really a poem recited to background music, and the contemplative rendition of Rebbe Nachman's "Narrow Bridge." My least favorite piece is "Turn me on, Sister Sarah," which is a bit too sexually suggestive for my Orthodox tastes (although he does marry Sarah in the end). However, if this song represents the beginning of a journey from secular to sacred, then it fits as the opening number for the play. This is not just "one man's journey," it's the quest of many American Jews to find a "sound" that bridges the Old World and the New -- not just in music, but in life itself."
GREAT TRADITIONAL TUNES IN MODERN ARRANGEMENT
Rabbi Yonassan Gershom | 08/20/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A VERY GOOD CD - WHETHER YOU LIKE ROCK, POP, OR KLEZMER"