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Süddeutsche Zeitung





Interview with Juedische Allgemeine


 Paul Brody in Leipziger Volkszeitung 9.6.2017: See the article 

 Interview with BBC Radio

Klezmer and classical, jazz and judaism, meet here—in the music of Paul Brody. Paul Brody grew up in California. His trumpet playing got him to Germany, in a touring Broadway show of Duke Ellington songs. Brody liked Germany so much he stayed there. He’s been living in Berlin for more than a decade. And he’s gotten into a whole new musical thing. Brody founded his own band, “Sadawi.” The group plays a mix of all kinds of styles. Brody told The World’s Marco Werman that eclecticism is nothing new for him.


Paul Brody: I’ve always juggled a lot of things. I’ve studied classical music, classical composition. I’m from a Jewish family, my parents, my family heard both Jewish music and a lot of jazz and of course a lot of classical music, so it’s all been up there in my little brain (laughs), so it was bound to come out the trumpet some time and especially from living in Germany, of course, because of the history has forced me to really examine my past, my family’s history, where I fit in in Jewish music and, of course, Jewish culture in general.

Marco Werman: You have a tune on your CD called “Klezmer a la Bechet” which is in reference to Sidney Bechet which was written several years ago by the great klezmer clarinet player and composer David Krakauer, let`s first listen to what you did with the piece and then we`ll talk about it. Sure.

MW: `Klezmer a la Bechet` courtesy of Paul Brody and Sadawi. What I`m hearing there Paul is klezmer, post bop, turning into free jazz, turning into acid jazz and then surf guitar and that’s just the untrained ear (laughing). So first explain what`s happening in “Klezmer a la Bechet” as envisioned by the composer David Krakauer and then tell us what you decided to do with it.

PB: I think David Krakauer just wanted to write one of his beautiful high powered fresh energetic tunes. We both like Sidney Bechet very much, the soprano clarinetist, he lived around the same time as Naftule Brandwein who’s one of the legendary klezmer clarinet players. His piece is sort of molding together the music of Sidney Bechet and klezmer music of Naftule Brandwein.

MW: And what did you want to do with it?

PB: Well, on a number of pieces on this CD, “Beyond Babylon”, there are what I call composed re-mixes and I took tunes from living klezmer musicians, that is, instead of taking a traditional song from the klezmer repertoire and making it modern, I re-mixed in my compositional way, music from living klezmer composers. And so I transcribed “Klezmer a la Bechet” from David Krakauer and I cut it up and I re-composed it.

MW: What’s interesting about this CD Beyond Babylon is as you’ve just explain with “Klezmer a la Bechet” there are some deep artistic concepts at play here. And at the same time it’s kind of an exploration of your own Jewish side. How do the arts and religion reconcile with each other on this CD. How do these things generally work together, do you think?

PB: Stories…

MW: Stories. What do you mean by that?

PB: You learn how to act, you learn how to live, you learn about inspiration through stories, through stories of old rabbis, stories of Moses. In Jewish culture, dialogue is very important. In “Timepiece” there are individual lines playing against each other, and with each other, Alan Bern on accordion is a guest in the band and he`s having a dialogue with the trumpet throughout the entire “timepiece” in a very melodic way.

MW: It’s interesting because the first tune on “Beyond Babylon” is called “To Be Simple” and there’s a reference there to an old American Shaker tune.

PB: Yeah.

MW: What is that about?

PB: The Quakers were responsible for bringing my mother from Nazi Austria to England and then to America. So that’s a dedication to them, and so in the middle of this song, the Klezmer music often goes from a minor sound to a very happy major sound, when this tune goes to this happy major sounds I put in the Shaker tune and it sort of fits.

MW: Paul Brody’s latest album is entitled “Beyond Babylon.” Paul Brody thank you very much for your time.

PB: Thanks, Bye.