As I reflect on my 25 years of friendship with Reb Shlomo,
I think that an aspect our relationship that would be interesting to readers was
our special musical communication.
I met Shlomo in 1971 at the House of Love & Prayer in
San Francisco. I had asked a friend, Rabbi Joe Schoenwald if he knew a “
Spiritual “ Rabbi. Rabbi Joe referred me to Reb Shlomo in S.F. As I was living
with my band in Marin County, the trip to S.F. was an easy one.
When I walked into the House of Love & Prayer,
Shlomo’s warmth and presence immediately struck me. I took out my guitar and
started playing with Shlomo as he performed for a small gathering of Chevra. The
musical communication was immediate. Although I had no idea of what Shlomo was
talking about regarding Rebbes and H-ly Jews, I was drawn into his spell with
Up to this time in my life, I had managed to grow up never
even hearing the word “Shabbos” let alone observing it. My family had
thought that they were doing me a favor by saving me from the boredom of a
Jewish education. Perhaps I was lucky. The first Torahs I ever heard were from
Shlomo was delighted with my musical expertise and we had an instant communication musically.
Subsequently, Reb Shlomo invited me to perform with him at
his concerts and teachings and performed the wedding ceremony for my wife and I
in a pastoral setting in Latigo Canyon in the hills above Malibu California. Our
wedding was one the highest moments for Patricia and I as well as the many
guests who experienced Shlomo’s unique style of creating the wedding ceremony.
After the wedding, Shlomo asked to stay at our house for Shabbos, something he rarely did. All his chevra
Were literally waiting outside our door for him every
Shlomo often called upon me to perform with him at special concerts and teachings. He started talking about doing and album and we got together and had several rehearsal sessions. Shlomo would start making up a niggun and I would try and “catch” where he was going with the melody in an intuitive way.
Shlomo would appreciate that I reinforced the more charming
melodies as an accompanist. He mentioned to me many times over the years that
our musically chemistry was unique. Shlomo often made up melodies when we were in his more
informal teaching sessions that took place after the concerts.
Shlomo asked my wife Patricia and myself to produce the album. “Days Are Coming” for him. At the time Shlomo indicated that he had not had a quality album since “ In the Palace of the King”
Patricia and I gladly accepted the challenge. Although I
had extensive experience as a recording artist, I had never produced an album.
Shlomo didn’t care. He was convinced that we were the ones to do the job!
Shlomo and I rehearsed about three times and he actually composed several of the songs used on, “ Days Are Coming” at our house.
Musical arrangements were made and musicians were
contracted. We deliberately did not book any musicians and singers that had any
experience with Jewish music. Our concept was to use great musical artists that
would respond to Shlomo in a creative manner. Shlomo loved the album and always
said it was one of the best recordings he ever made. One of the most fun aspects
of the sessions was seeing Shlomo instantly charm the musicians who performed on
We thank Shlomo for the opportunity of helping to bring
forth and documenting many of his h-ly melodies.on the many projects we worked
on together over the years.
The many hundreds of hours we spent with Shlomo at concerts and teachings are treasures to us.
The phenomenons of Shlomo style minonim such as “ The
Happy Minion” in L.A. and Beirav in Sfat are living testimonies to the power
of his music.
Both Patricia and I are blessed to continue to be part of
the music that continues to inspire and awaken Jews everywhere.
Los Angeles California
August 15, 2001