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Blumenkranz, Shanir Ezra / Zorn, John

Abraxas: The Book Of Angels Volume 19

Blumenkranz, Shanir Ezra / Zorn, John: Abraxas: The Book Of Angels Volume 19 (Tzadik)

The 19th volume in the Book of Angels series is led by gimbri player Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz in a primal reading of Zorn's music with Eyal Maoz & Aram Bajakian (guitars) and Kenny Grohowski (drums).

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product information:

UPC: 702397830221

Label: Tzadik
Catalog ID: TZA-CD-8302
Squidco Product Code: 16651

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2012
Country: USA
Packaging: Digipack
Recorded by James Dullatacoma in March 2012 at Orange Music Studios, NJ.


Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz-gimbri

Eyal Maoz-guitars

Aram Bajakian-guitars

Kenny Grohowski-drums

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Artist Biographies:

"Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz (born 1975 in Brooklyn, NY) is an American bassist and oud player who has recorded and performed extensively with Cyro Baptista's Banquet of the Spirits, Daniel Zamir's Satlah, Rashanim, and Pharaoh's Daughter, and John Zorn. Blumenkranz studied at the Manhattan School of Music, the Rimon School of Music in Israel, and holds a B.A. in Performance from Berklee College of Music in Boston. In 2012 he released the first album under his leadership Abraxas: Book of Angels Volume 19 featuring compositions by John Zorn."

-Wikipedia (

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"The music of guitarist, composer and educator Aram Bajakian has been called "a masterpiece" (fRoots, July 2017), "shape-shifting" (FreeJazzCollective, January 2017), and "astonishing" (Georgia Straight, March 2017).

As an instrumentalist, Bajakian had the privilege of performing alongside Velvet Underground frontman Lou Reed during his last two tours in 2011 and 2012. In 2013, Bajakian toured in Diana Krall's band, performing over 100 concerts with the multiple-Grammy-award-winning singer, along with violinist Stuart Duncan (Yo-Yo Ma's Goat Rodeo, Robert Plant) and drummers Karriem Riggins (Kanye West, Common, J-Dilla) and Jay Bellerose (Elton John, Rhiannon Giddens). Through these tours and others, Bajakian has had the opportunity to play in many of the world's greatest venues, including Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, the Acropolis, L'Olympia, as well as the Montreaux, Newport, Northsea, Monterey and Antibes jazz festivals, among others.

Bajakian's collaboration with his wife, vocalist, actress and ethnomusicologist, Julia Ulehla, entitled Dálava, reimagines folk songs collected over 100 years ago from a single village in Moravia by her great-grandfather. Their performances and two albums have received universal critical acclaim. Dálava's latest album, The Book of Transfigurations (Songlines, 2017) was listed by the Georgia Straight as one of "50 Albums That Shaped Vancouver" in their May 2017 edition celebrating the magazine's 50th year in print. Bastiaan Springer, in his August 2017 fRoots review said, "Every now and then an album appears that is so overwhelming and so intense that it is hard to put into any category. Such is the case with The Book Of Transfigurations, the second release by Dálava...Saying that The Book Of Transfigurations is a masterpiece is not an exaggeration."

Bajakian's 2014 solo guitar album, Music Inspired by the Color of Pomegranates, an alternate soundtrack to Parajanov's iconic film, received 4.5 stars from All About Jazz and was featured in the documentary Shepherds in the Cave, which tells the story of the restoration of frescoes in ancient Italian caves. there were flowers also in hell (2014, Sanasar Records), was called "One of the best instrumental rock records of recent years," by New York Music Daily. Village Voice critic Robert Christgau said of the album, "Every track singular, every track strong. A MINUS." Released by John Zorn's Tzadik Label, Aram Bajakian's Kef, which explores Armenian dance music of the same name, was listed as one of the Best World Music Albums of 2011 by PopMatters.

Bajakian has worked with numerous artists over the years and has been featured on several of composer and saxophonist John Zorn's projects. Bajakian performs in bassist Shanir Blumenkranz' (Yo-Yo Ma, Cyro Baptista) band Abraxas, which has recorded two albums of John Zorn's music: Book of Angels Volume 19, and Psychomagia. Bill Milkowski called their first album a "Twin 6 String assault," in Downbeat Magazine. A third album of material, entitled Book Beriah: Gevurah, was released in 2018 as part of an 11 CD box set which also featured albums by Bill Frisell, Craig Taborn, Julian Lage and Secret Chiefs 3.

Since 2014, Bajakian has performed in Frank London's (The Klemzatics) Glass House Orchestra, which recreates the musical culture of Hungarian Jewish communities destroyed by the Holocaust. Their debut record was nominated for three German Critics' Best of the Year Awards in October 2017.

Bajakian received his Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where he studied with Dr. Yusef Lateef. He holds a Masters Degree in Music Education from Teachers College, Columbia University and Master of Music degree in Music Composition from the University of British Columbia, where he studied electronic music with Dr. Keith Hamel. When not touring, he works as the Music Curator for the Western Front in Vancouver, one of Canada's leading artist run spaces for art and new music."

-Aram Bajakian Website (

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"Brought up in a musical household in Miami, 29-year-old drummer, Kenny Grohowski has been performing since the age of 14. His rich musical background is demonstrated through the growing list of his collaborators and guest artists, including Vernon Reid, Corey Unger (of Blood Has Been Shed), Emeline Michel, Peter Cincotti, Jorge Sylvester, Bobby Sanabria, Bill T. Jones, Rory Stuart, Cassandra Wilson, Richie Ray & Bobby Cruz, Giovanni Hidalgo, John Benitez, Francis Mbappe, Domingo Quinones, and Bobby Valentin.

Grohowski has been a member of bassist Lonnie Plaxico's band since 2003, and a member of Andy Milne's Dapp Theory since 2006, having come back from a successful US/Canada tour with Dapp Theory, with Highlight shows in Vancouver opening for Jazz and Bass legend, Stanley Clarke, and performed in the 2007 Latin Grammy Awards Live from Madison Square Garden with the award winning group RBD. He has appeared on several recordings, including Plaxico's hit "So Alive" [Sony, Japan]. As of 2009, Grohowski has become a new member of acclaimed Haitian singer/cultural figure Emeline Michel's Accoustic Quintet, and has also performed at the Museum of Modern Art with the Ze Luis Quartet as part of their Live Art performances. Grohowski has also toured across the United States, South America, and Europe, as well as in Australia and China with New Classical Composer Daniel Bernard Roumain (a.k.a. DBR). Kenny has also performed regularly with acclaimed bassist Felix Pastorius and his group since 2010, performing regularly at such New York City venues as Zinc Bar and The 55 Bar. Recently, Grohowski has written and recorded for Grammy Award winning Producer and Arranger Victor "Papo" Ortiz on the album "Eres Santo".

When not working with his various affiliated ensembles, Grohowski enjoys a steady and fast paced Free lancing schedule, working with many of New York City's top Jazz, Rock, and Brazilian artists, as well as a multitude of others, and has recorded on over 40 albums. [...]"

-Kenny Grohowski Website (

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track listing:

1. Domos 4:00

2. Tse'an 4:09

3. Nachmiel 3:35

4. Yaasriel 5:22

5. Muriel 3:27

6. Maspiel 5:51

7. Aupiel 3:44

8. Nahuriel 4:57

9. Biztha 3:37

10. Zaphiel 5:21
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Shanir Ezra Blumenkranz has been a mainstay of the downtown scene for over a decade now, working with and producing CDs by Daniel Zamir, Cyro Baptista, Eyal Maoz, Jon Madof, Yoshie Fruchter and more. Here he steps out on his own to make one of the most tribal and primal installments in the Book of Angels series. Drawing on his Sephardic roots, Shanir plays gimbri throughout, giving the music a primeval Moroccan edge. Featuring the intense guitar pyrotechnics of Eyal Maoz and Aram Bajakian (who recently has been tearing it up in Lou Reed's new band) and the atavistic drumming of Kenny Grohowski, this is Ritualistic Jewish Rock for the 21st century from a brilliant young lion from the East Village via Brooklyn/Israel!"-Tzadik

Related Categories of Interest:

Improvised Music
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
Zorn. John
Melodic and Lyrical Jazz
Quartet Recordings
Instant Rewards

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