Creative Jewish Music at Bnai Keshet in Montclair 12/17

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The following is from Bnai Keshet

A concert of Jewish music by two bands that combine a cross-cultural blend of expressions and influences including R&B, jazz, soul and funk, will take place at Bnai Keshet in Montclair on Saturday December 17 at 7:30pm. The community is invited; tickets are $20 in advance, $25 on the day of the show. The Reconstructionist synagogue is located at 99 So. Fullerton Ave.


Thread of Blue (L to R): Talya Smilowitz, Marty Fogel, Mitchell Schechter, Aaron Alexander, Brian Glassman.

Both groups, Thread of Blue and Djangle Box Project, have distinct styles with Bnai Keshet member Marty Fogel, an international jazz artist and composer, in common; each ensemble will perform hour-long musical sets. Their repertoires differ yet both reflect the rich legacy of the Jewish experience. Midway, the program will break for intermission; refreshments will be served and CDs will be available.

Thread of Blue is a jazz ensemble that plays traditional and original music drawn from Jewish liturgy. Fogel and composer Mitchell Schechter create music that supports traditional Jewish prayers sung by Cantor Talya Smilowitz. Her vocals infuse the prayers and melodies with meaning for a deeply transcendent experience.


Djangle Box Project (L to R): Marty Fogel, David Licht, Allen Watsky, Brian Glassman

Djangle Box Project, named to honor gypsy jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt’s acoustic guitar, is led by Allen Watsky and plays a distinctive blend of Jewish, Eastern European, Roma and Middle Eastern music over deep rhythmic grooves. Drummer David Licht is a co-founder of the Klezmatics, one of the most popular and creative klezmer bands in the U.S. Their music enlivens; it is very danceable, all acoustic, progressive, rhythmic, soulful and profound.

Following hour-long sets, Thread of Blue and Djangle Box will join forces to play together. The musicians will then be available for post concert conversation and refreshments.

The program is a special celebration of the variety of Jewish music at Bnai Keshet. To order tickets, visit

Bnai Keshet ( is a Reconstructionist synagogue serving the Greater Essex area. The synagogue is located at 99 So. Fullerton, Montclair. More information is available at 973-746-4889;

About the bands

Thread of Blue

The name, Thread of Blue, is a reference to the Torah’s injunction to have Petiel Techelet (Thread of Blue) as the eighth strand of one’s Tallit’s fringes. The ability to produce this special blue strand was lost for centuries when the specific dye required was no longer available. Today we do see Tallitot with the special blue thread. The true means and method to produce the proper dye has been recovered. Choosing “Thread of Blue” as the name for our musical group was inspired by the reappearance of the Tallit’s blue thread.

The name also derives from the Blues musical form, an integral component of jazz, R&B and rock. Thread of Blue is dedicated to bringing our wide range of musical experience to music based upon Jewish sources. The group is easily at home in the stylistic realms of Latin music, R&B, funk, free jazz, klezmer and more.

Djangle Box Project

The Djangle Box Project is a vehicle for the inclusion of acoustic guitar into a mix of Jewish, Roma, Eastern European, Middle Eastern music and American funk and jazz. The original pieces focus on melody and rhythm as a means of concentrating energy with the goal of uplifting the listener.

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