Project Created: Name of the Sea
Quote: “I started this residency thinking about the ways jazz and Jewish music - both from my own Eastern European (Klezmer/Yiddish) roots and non-European roots like those in the Middle East and North Africa - spoke to each other. I wanted my composition to be a something between reality and a dream of what that dialogue might produce, performed by a group of amazing musicians who's experiences would draw out even more connections than what I could imagine. In the course of the performances and workshops of this residency, I've gotten all that and more. Along with my collaborator, Rabbi Yosef Goldman, we have come through the process to face serious questions as musicians and as people like How do we see ourselves in today's world? Where do we come from? What sounds & groups of people do we want to be connected to now and in the future? How does our knowledge or lack of knowledge inform or drive our desires? Rather than a set of answers to these questions I see my piece "Name Of The Sea" as a celebration of the search, internal and external, that these questions put us on.
"Name Of The Sea" has emerged as a suite full of hard-driving Middle-Eastern dance grooves, settings of yiddish poetry, and original takes on Jewish meditative wordless melodies, all refracted through cutting edge of jazz.” – Dan Blacksberg
Bio: From the landmark experimental music venue Roulette to the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival, Philadelphia-native Dan Blacksberg has created a singular musical voice as a trombonist, composer, and educator. Acknowledged as the foremost practitioner of klezmer trombone in its traditional and modern forms and a respected voice in experimental music, Dan is known for a formidable virtuosity and extreme versatility. This has led to performances with artists such klezmer masters Elaine Hoffman Watts, Adrienne Cooper, Michael Winograd and Frank London to experimentalists like George Lewis, Anthony Braxton, Marshall Allen, and extreme doom metal band The Body, to being a featured jazz soloist with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia.
Described by Bandcamp Daily as “a maestro who effortlessly hops between—and, ultimately, deconstructs—genres with abandon,” Dan’s musical vision has led him to create music with a wide reach. From writing danceable klezmer melodies on his most recent album Radiant Others – the fi rst klezmer album to feature the trombone as the lead instrument – to the free jazz of the Dan Blacksberg Trio, to genre-busting projects like his Hasidic doom metal band Deveykus and his suite Together in Struggle, Dan forges music with a voice that “aims to infuse the fearless avant-garde with timeless sounds and techniques, and vice versa.” (WXPN’s The Key)
Dan is in high demand as a teacher at many of the leading klezmer festivals such as Klezkamp, Klezkanada, and Yiddish Summer Weimar. He is currently the Klezmer musician in Residence at Kol Tzedek Synagogue in West Philadelphia. Awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts in 2012, he has received grants from the American Composers Forum Philadelphia Chapter and was a 2014 composer fellow at the Ucross Foundation.
Project Description: Dan Blacksberg, composer and trombonist, explored and fused connections between jazz, klezmer music, and Jewish and non-Jewish music from the Middle East and North Africa. “I want to dig into the continuum of sounds and people that spreads from the Middle East through Eastern Europe, and a shared history of change that resulted from bringing our cultures to this country. I want to showcase those sounds, and add to them jazz’s ability, primarily through improvisation, to tell my own story [and] explore connections between music cultures of mine like klezmer and jazz, and those from the Middle Eastern to which I am connected but still an outsider.” Joining Blacksberg in bringing this project to life were Rabbi Yosef Goldman (vocalist, percussionist), Nick Millevoi (electric guitar), and Chad Taylor (drums).
Audiences experienced a “musical playground” that combined and juxtaposed different musical vocabularies, idioms, and cultures to create unique and exciting compositions.
Dan Blacksberg: composer, trombone
Rabbi Yosef Goldman: vocals, percussion
Nick Millevoi: electric guitar
Chad Taylor: drums
Performance Dates: Dan Blacksberg and Rabbi Yosef Goldman were in residence at the Kimmel Center from November 2018 – June 2019. Their residency kick off was held on January 11, their student workshop on January 25, their public workshop on March 27, their work-in-progress on April 10, and their world premiere was held on June 6, 2019.