AMN Reviews: Jacob Garchik – The Heavens: The Atheist Gospel Trombone Album (Yestereve Records)

Joshua fought the battle of Jericho and his horn made the walls come tumbling down. Jacob Garchik pulls out a long, gleaming trombone and blows some space wide open for “Creation´s Creation”. The Heavens: The Atheist Gospel Trombone Album is an aggadah on the big things, each accompanied by a quote from big minds including the Book of Judges, Mark Twain, Albert Einstein, Woody Allen and Garchik´s Mom.

Part gospel, part klezmer, a little John Philip Sousa, in nine layered, saturated hyperventilations Garchik talmudizes astrophysics and God, the need or unnecessity of God, the very real necessity of a being mensch, the pushmi-pullyu of suffering and joy. The brief “Dialogue with my Great-Grandfather”, a Brooklyn synagogue founder, is chazzanic, while “Digression on the History of Jews and Black Music” jabs and belts. “This Song is the Center of the Universe” is so sunny, you might just believe it. “The Heavens” is a New Orleans funeral, “Glory/Infinity/Nothing” a Marx Brothers´ day at the races, and “Be Good” is the alley cat in all of us swaggering away in the early morning light, promising to do so tomorrow.
This is witty, swingin´ stuff and – dare I say it? – a real blast.