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Performance  |  JEWISH JAZZ: Two generations mark the role of Jews as jazz pioneers

Sunday, April 9, 2017, 2 pm

Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Auditorium  

The Burchfield Penney Art Center presents Jewish Jazz, a multi-media happening featuring music and art by two generations of the Weiser family of Buffalo. The event, which takes place on Sunday, April 9 at 2 pm, kicks-off with a performance by clarinetist Steve Loew and pianist Daniel Weiser. The concert will be accompanied by an exhibition of paintings by Milton Weiser, former chief of gastroenterology at the University of Buffalo and the Buffalo General Hospital. General Admission is $20; Burchfield Penney members are $10.

Call 716-878-6011 during gallery hours for tickets.

The program will highlight the symbiosis between "Klezmer-style" Jewish music and American Jazz. As waves of Eastern European immigrants flocked into New York City in the first decades of the 20th century and met the flow of African-American migrants moving up from the South, the two musical idioms meshed and a distinctly American sound began to develop. Many of the early white Jazz musicians were Jewish and several had received their early training at the Synagogue. Just as The Great American Songbook was largely a product of Jewish songwriters (Berlin, Kern, Rodgers), instrumental jazz also became strongly influenced by Jewish composers and performers such as George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, and Artie Shaw.

Dr. Daniel Weiser will tell this fascinating story with quotes and anecdotes about the lives of the
composers as well as contemporary accounts of this intermixing of musical styles, including one written
by noted anti-semite Henry Ford, in which he decried the rise of what he called "Jewish Jazz."
Weiser, who grew up in Buffalo and graduated from City Honors School, attended Columbia University and one year at Harvard Law School before earning his doctorate in piano from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. He was the 1996 U.S. Artistic Ambassador of Music, for which he was sent on an eleven-country tour of the Middle East and Southeast Asia. He is also the founder and Artistic Director of AmiciMusic, a chamber music organization based in Asheville, NC and Baltimore, MD that is dedicated to the performance of great music in intimate spaces and non-traditional venues. AmiciMusic also aims to break down barriers between performers and audiences through informative talks about the pieces and by establishing a more informal and relaxed atmosphere at its concert events.

Weiser will be joined by clarinetist Steve Loew on this program. Loew is a former member of the U.S. Marine Band and White House Orchestra, who has played for four different Presidents. A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music, Loew has also played with the New York Philharmonic and the National Symphony and has collaborated with such artists as Marvin Hamlisch, Doc Severinsen, Johnny Mathis, and Meatloaf. Mr. Loew was born in Brooklyn, NY and now lives in Asheville, NC.

Dr. Milton Weiser, a longtime patron of the Buffalo arts scene along with his wife, Helen, retired from medicine almost 20 years ago and has devoted much of his time since then to art, painting over 200 works, often with Jewish themes, that are filled with expressive color and intense passion. He had a studio at the Tri-Main Center for many years until being slowed in the past few years by Parkinson's disease. Several of these paintings will on be on display at the concert, including his "Genesis" series, a group of nine paintings based on the first nine letters of the Hebrew alphabet and depicting powerful scenes from the Book of Genesis.