Music @ the JCC East Bay

Convergence Revisited
with Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell and Veretski Pass

THU, FEB 21, 7 PM
Cost: Member: $15 / General: $20
JCC East Bay, Berkeley branch

Since its premiere at the JCC East Bay in 2014, the groundbreaking music of Convergence has been heard the world over. They’re back to celebrate the album release and an exploration into 100 years of African- American and Ashkenazi Jewish music. This is one you won’t want to miss!

Anthony Russell is a vocalist, composer, and arranger specializing in Yiddish art and folk song. His work in Jewish music has brought him to stages across the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, Israel, Denmark, Germany, and Poland. An EP of his groundbreaking collaboration with klezmer trio Veretski Pass, Convergence, was just released in August 2018. Veretski Pass offers a unique and exciting combination of virtuosic musicianship and raw energy that has excited concertgoers across the world.


Tsvey Brider
with Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell and Dmitri Gaskin

SAT, FEB 23, 8 PM
Cost: Member: $15 / General: $20
Starline Social Club, Oakland

Following sold-out shows, Tsvey Brider (“Two Brothers”) is coming home to the East Bay! The talented duo perform original compositions of contemporary Yiddish poetry in diverse styles ranging from classical to disco and hip-hop. Catch them before they’re off on tour again!

Anthony Russell is a vocalist, composer, and arranger specializing in Yiddish art and folk song. An EP of his groundbreaking collaboration with klezmer trio Veretski Pass, Convergence, was released in August 2018. Dmitri Gaskin is an accomplished accordion player, composer, and arranger specializing in Klezmer and Romanian folk music. He won the ASCAP Foundation’s Morton Gould Young Composer Award for a contemporary classical composition. Gaskin also formed Harmonikos, a performing collective of young composers and musicians. He lives in California with his three accordions.


Bluegrass and Shabbat Z’mirot 
by Jerry Wicentowski and The Wiseman Institute

SUN, MAR 10, 2 PM
Cost: Member: $15 / General: $20
JCC East Bay, Berkeley branch

Jerry Wicentowski is an unusually gifted singer and guitarist, who has combined the musical style and melodies of American bluegrass with beloved ancient Hebrew Sabbath songs. His band is comprised of some of the best bluegrass musicians in the Bay Area—and their collaboration is breathtaking.


Keith Little (5-string banjo and vocal) is a California Gold Country native, an organic farmer, and an inspired songwriter, and has been Dolly Parton’s harmony singer. Paul Knight (bass) runs his own sound company, and for decades has been bass player with Peter Rowan and many others. Chad Manning (fiddle) co-runs a thriving East Bay fiddle school with his wife, Catherine. He has been in all of David Grisman’s 21st-century bands. Jody Stecher (mandolin and vocal) is a Grammy finalist and Indy Award winner and an influential song finder, composer, and teacher. He was even Jerry’s guitar teacher when they were teenagers! Jerry Wicentowski (guitar and vocal) is a bluegrass musician of the old school. He is Yeshiva educated and observant, and he sings wonderfully in both Hebrew and English.


Archimedes Lullaby

FRI, May 17, 7 PM
Cost: Member: $15 / General: $20
JCC East Bay, Berkeley Branch

Clarinetist Ben Goldberg presents Archimedes Lullaby, a new work scored for a quintet consisting of some of the most important improvising musicians in the Bay Area: Kasey Knudsen on alto saxophone, Michael Coleman on keyboards, Hamir Atwal on drums, Jon Arkin on live electronics, and Goldberg on clarinet. The piece is inspired by Gjertrud Schnackenberg’s 2010 book-length poem, Heavenly Questions, a meticulous inquiry into love and connection at the end of life, which Goldberg encountered while in residence at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy in 2017.

Clarinetist and composer Ben Goldberg grew up in Denver, Colorado. He was a pupil of the eminent clarinetist Rosario Mazzeo and studied with Steve Lacy and Joe Lovano. Since 1992, when his group New Klezmer Trio "kicked open the door for radical experiments with Ashkenazi roots music" (San Francisco Chronicle), Goldberg has shaped a career through curiosity and experimentation across many genres and styles. The New York Times has noted that Ben’s music “conveys a feeling of joyous research into the basics of polyphony and collective improvising, the constant usefulness of musicians intuitively coming together and pulling apart.” He has twice been named Rising Star Clarinetist by DownBeat magazine and has released over thirty records of his own compositions. His groups include: Invisible Guy; Orphic Machine; Unfold Ordinary Mind; The Cool Philosophy of Ben Goldberg; DIALOGUE, a duo with pianist/composer Myra Melford; the Ben Goldberg Trio with Greg Cohen and Kenny Wollesen; Ben Goldberg School; and Ben Goldberg’s Brainchild, an 11-piece ensemble performing his on-the-spot compositions. Goldberg plays in Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom and is on the Music faculty at the University of California, Berkeley. He also runs BAG Production Records.


We are grateful for the support of: Walter and Elise Haas Fund, Koret Foundation, Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay, Taube Philanthropies, Israel and Mollie Myers Foundation, and the Lisa and Douglas Goldman Fund