Will Friedwald


Another Velvet Fog Summer

By Will Friedwald

Another Velvet Fog Summer
Mel Tormé (1925–1999) was the Art Tatum of singers: a daredevil improviser with equally flawless chops and remarkable harmonic smarts, he would take a tune and break it down into 1,000 glistening arpeggios, then put it back together in a way that often improved on the original. Like Tatum, he could do all this without losing the thread of the melody, and with the added dimension of using his musicality to bring out the meaning of the words. Frequently compared to Ella Fitzgerald — which he considered a tremendous compliment — if Tormé wasn’t the greatest male pure jazz singer of all time (after Louis Armstrong), it’s hard to imagine who was.Read More


Anything You Can Do

By Will Friedwald

Anything You Can Do
In jazz terminology, it’s known as “call and response”: The trumpet section plays a few notes, which are answered immediately by the saxophones. Or, a soloist will give out with a four-bar phrase and then hear it echoed back at him by the full ensemble. Call and response is as essential to big band swing as the idea of “theme and variations” is to classical music.Read More


On the Fourth Night, Tunes, Jokes and Shoe-Throwing

By Will Friedwald

How better to celebrate the fourth night of Hanukkah than by throwing a shoe at Bernard Madoff? On December 24, nightlife impresario Michael Dorf, who gave the world the Knitting Factory, opened his new space, City Winery, with a variety show that served as the fourth evening of New York’s fourth annual Sephardic Music Festival.Read More






    Find us on Facebook!
    • This is what the rockets over Israel and Gaza look like from space:
    • "Israel should not let captives languish or corpses rot. It should do everything in its power to recover people and bodies. Jewish law places a premium on pidyon shvuyim, “the redemption of captives,” and proper burial. But not when the price will lead to more death and more kidnappings." Do you agree?
    • Slate.com's Allison Benedikt wrote that Taglit-Birthright Israel is partly to blame for the death of American IDF volunteer Max Steinberg. This is why she's wrong:
    • Israeli soldiers want you to buy them socks. And snacks. And backpacks. And underwear. And pizza. So claim dozens of fundraising campaigns launched by American Jewish and Israeli charities since the start of the current wave of crisis and conflict in Israel and Gaza.
    • The sign reads: “Dogs are allowed in this establishment but Zionists are not under any circumstances.”
    • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
    • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
    • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
    • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
    • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
    • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
    • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
    • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
    • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
    • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
    • from-cache

    Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















    We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

    Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.