Welcome to AaronAlexander.com


The website of Drummer/Composer Aaron Alexander


Aaron Alexander's
Midrash Mish Mosh

click here for a press release. You can buy the recording here

A native of the Seattle scene who moved to New York in 1993, Aaron Alexander has performed with many of the great groups in the new Jewish Renaissance, from the Klezmatics to Hasidic New Wave, Klezmer Madness, Klezmerfest, Babkas, Klez-Jazz, Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars, and many more. Midrash Mish Mosh, his first CD for Tzadik, presents nine powerful compositions exploring the intersections of klezmer with thrash punk, free jazz and world music rhythms. Exhilarating, lyrical and intense.

Merlin Shepherd - Clarinet
Greg Wall - Tenor Saxophone/ Clarinet on #3, 7, 9
Frank London - Trumpet
Curtis Hasselbring - Trombone/additional Guitar on #1, 5
Brad Shepik - Guitar on all tracks
Fima Ephron - Bass
Mike Sarin - Drums - R
Aaron Alexander -Drums - L

special guest
Randy Crafton - Rik (on #5)

Other musicians who have played in the band include:

Alex Kontorovich - clarinet/saxophone
Christian Dawid - clarinet
Matt Darriau - clarinet
Margot Leverett - clarinet
Tim Otto - saxophone
Alicia Svigals - violin

Ben Holmes - trumpet
Arnold Hammerschlag - trumpet
Susan Watts - trumpet
Jacob Garchik - trombone
Dan Blacksberg - trombone
Jay Vilnai - guitar
John Schott - guitar
J. Granelli - bass
David Richards - bass
David Licht - drums
Alan Bern - accordion
Mitya Khramtsov - violin
Zheka Lizin - tsimbl
Mark Kovnotsky - violin
Jeremy Brown - violin

This CD, on John Zorn's Tzadik label, came about as a result of my desire to do a different kind of klezmer record, to incorporate thrash punk and jazz with traditional klezmer sound, because I see a similar kind of trance energy at orthodox weddings and mosh pits. When I spoke to Zorn he insisted I should write all-original music. At first I was surprised, because the market value of original music is traditionally paltry, in comparison with folk music or pop music. But I felt challenged and also appreciated so I quickly agreed. In so doing I was given an opportunity to explore my own identity - Jewish, American, New Yorker, Jazz musician, Klezmer musician, mixed marriage, - and bring to the music my own take, at this point in my life, on klezmer, with other influences, along with my friends and collaborators on this project.  I hope the result conveys a sense of fun, as well as reflecting a serious attempt to bring together some of the disparate influences in my life, through a Jewish medium, eastern european jewish party music: klezmer.

You can buy the recording here

Midrash!? huh? what is that?

"He had set his heart to seek the Torah of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments" (Ezra vii.10). The Hebrew verb used in this sentence for 'to seek,' darash, is of the utmost importance for our theme. Its true sense is 'to deduce, interpret' the ideas which profound study of the text could elucidate. This process of deduction is called Midrash and is the system of interpretation employed throughout the Rabbinic literature.
from  Everyman's Talmud, by Dr. Abraham Cohen

for other answers to the question "What does "Midrash" mean?" click here


We went into the studios at WNYC Radio and taped three pieces and an interview with John Schaefer for his show New Sounds! If you want to hear the show, click here.
Here is a picture in the studio, taken by Caryn Havlik.

L-R John Schaeffer, Brad Shepik, Aaron Alexander, Alex Kontorovich,
J. Granelli (back), Curtis Hasselbring (front), Greg Wall, Frank London, Michael Sarin.

Radio Play - see who's playing Midrash Mish Mosh on the radio
The song titles are mostly in Yiddish -
click here for a page with translations and explanations of the titles

Ari Davidov had an interesting perspective on Klez Kanada which mentioned
a performance of a tune from our CD on the faculty concert. Read it.


All pieces composed & arranged by Aaron Alexander

Produced by Aaron Alexander
Executive Producer - John Zorn
Associate Producer - Kazunori Sugiyama

Recorded by Randy Crafton and Sal Mormando at Kaleidoscope Sound
Mixed by Randy Crafton and Aaron Alexander at Kaleidoscope Sound
Mastered by Scott Hull at Hit Factory Mastering, NYC
Portrait photos by Merceditas Mañago-Alexander
Light Sculptures by Larry Hahn
Cover and Design by Heung-Heung Chin

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promo pic1, promo pic2, cover shot