Cantor Kassel's Jewish Music Recommendations

I frequently receive requests to share my recommendations for the best selections of Jewish music to build a musical library.  Here are my recommendations:

1) Theodore Bikel Sings More Jewish Folk Songs (Bainbridge Records)

2) Music from the Yiddish Radio Project (www.shanachie.com) Klezmer, Yiddish Swing and commercial jingles from the 1930’s-1950’s, the “Golden Age” of Yiddish Radio.

3) Chants Mystiques: Hidden Treasures of a Living Tradition (Polygram Classics) Cantor Alberto sings a variety of musical styles along with a superb chorus and instrumentation.

4) The Shabbat Lounge: Experimental Jew Age Music – from Craig Taubman (www.craignco.com) Craig Taubman has done much to enliven Jewish liturgical music in the U.S.

5) Rick Recht: Shabbat Alive: (Vibe Room Records) We are starting to use a lot of Rick Recht music in our Religious School. Guest vocals include Dan Nichols, Peri Smilow and Craig Taubman, all of whom are making their mark on the American contemporary Jewish music scene.

6) Itzhak Perlman: In The Fiddler’s House (Angel Records) This recording features America’s beloved violinist and several well-known Klezmer bands.

7) Linda Hirschhorn & Vocolot: Behold (www.vocolot.com) A women’s a cappella group based in the Bay Area. Wonderful harmonies and rhythms.

8) Jewish Songs for Classical Guitar (www.eTranscon.com) 25 Sabbath, holiday and folk songs from Jewish tradition (nice background music for holiday dinner).

9) Any CD by Joshua Nelson (www.joshuanelson.com) Joshua Nelson is an African-American Jew whose strongest musical influence was Mahalia Jackson. Need I say more? (He brought the attendees at the Hallelu concert – to their feet!)

10) If you are a classical music lover - then check out The Milken Archive of American Jewish Music (www.milkenarchive.org) where more than 600 works have been newly recorded on 50 CD’s. I cannot say enough about the value and importance of this archive. Please check out the web-site.

11) As a a lover of choral music and intricate vocal blends – I recommend any recordings by The Western Wind (www.westernwind.org/home.htm).

I hope you will consider checking out the above recommendations and begin to discover the beauty of all kinds of Jewish music.