Mayer Davis, Cantor of Kehilath Jeshurun, the largest orthodox synagogue in New York presents this beautifully orchestrated album featuring his family's Jewish songs and melodies dating back more than three generations. The 16 track album, "Bridge of Generations"--Cantor Davis' fifth career release, has universal appeal and is a tribute to his family's rich musical history. Davis (who succeeded his father as Cantor at KJ) comes from a family of Cantors and composers whose origins are from Jerusalem and Eastern Europe. His family's music has been influential in North America and around the world.
"I was blessed to have grown up in a family that loved and revered traditional Jewish songs, many of which date back to the turn of the century and earlier," noted Davis. "Many of these melodies are not widely-known and are recorded here for the first time. Being able to share these songs gives me a feeling of enormous satisfaction." "These melodies have deep roots in my family tradition," Davis added.
While recording and compiling this album, Davis was helping to care for his mother who suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Although she was unable to communicate verbally for months, Davis found her enthusiastically singing along with him a particular melody that hearkened back to the turn of the century. Amazingly, she was even able to teach him a new part of the song that he had never heard before. The power of these authentic melodies was also demonstrated in their effect on Cantor Davis's father-in-law who also suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Rushed to the hospital a few years ago with acute breathing difficulties, his physicians found that all their efforts were ineffective until Cantor Davis and his family were able to coax him into singing his favorite childhood song with them…through his oxygen mask. "It was magical to hear my mother and father-in-law, even in the throes of Alzheimer's, recall and sing the melodies we always treasured. These songs have tremendous feeling and depth, and I am hopeful that they will touch people in the same way they have touched me and my family," Davis added.
The album, which is dedicated to his late mother, Esther Davis, is accompanied by an illustrated historical memoir tracing the background of the songs in parallel with Davis's family history. This release will be of interest to musicologists and ethnographers, as well as music enthusiasts.