Pitom Plays Punk Ass Jew Jazz
Pitom bills itself as “Punk Ass Jew Jazz” and I have to say it has a nice ring to it–and is fairly accurate. It’s a little klezmer, a little jazz, a little country twang, and yes, even a little punk. Their song “Skin and Bones” even has some surf music influence thrown in, while “The Robe of Priestly Proporions: Part 1” exposes lead guitar player Yoshie Fruchter’s klezmer and grunge roots.
When asked about his musical influences, Fruchter replied, “I think that a review we got in the Village Voice a few months back sums it up very well: ‘Pitom is equal parts seminary school, jazz school and NIrvana’s “School.”‘ I have always been hearing, singing or playing Jewish music, whether in prayer, performance, or otherwise and so these sounds were bound to work their way into my music one way or the other. I’m always hearing things in a minor key, I guess. As far as the instruments, when I started the band I decided the sound could work well with the violin, both to capture a bit of the “fiddler” Jewish element, and because of the fact that the instrument can be extremely sensitive or really scream! My guitar playing style varies somewhat according to the situation, but I was discovering the guitar at the height of grunge and alterna-rock and so when I’m playing the sludgy rock with Pitom, those are the sounds that come out. I am also really interested in combining strong melody with experimental, and how to grab a listeners attention and then totally throw it on it’s head once you have it. I think that’s an important defining characteristic of our music–people don’t know exactly how to respond to what they’re hearing and I like that this music can be fun without taking itself too seriously.”
And of course, we had to find out what Fruchter likes for brunch: “I don’t think I have a favorite restaurant for brunch but I’m really into smoked fish these days–especially herring. Going back to my Eastern European heritage. Gimme some good herring after services on Saturday and a good New York bagel, lox and cream cheese on a Sunday morning and I am set.” Nice! Kicking it old school and Jewish-style in the food department as well!
Pitom’s self-titled album is out now on John Zorn‘s Tzadik Records.
See them Wednesday, July 28 at The Local 269 bar, along with Xylopholks and Noah Kaplan Quartet.