Avi Newmark's latest musical production is stamped Nagila V'nismicha after his orchestra's name and stars Jewish music's latest singing sensation Benny Friedman. . This album is certainly not a wedding music album in the typical sense as it doesn't really list the typical songs for a wedding (although some might be played). It is more of an album of handpicked songs from a variety of styles so there is something for everyone.
Benny Friedman really goes to town on Nagila V'nisimicha.This album allows him to truly showcase his vocal abilities by singing a range of different styles from chasidic to Sephardic to Israeli. It was interesting to listen to some new material as well as some remakes of some very old and perhaps forgotten tunes. One example is Reb Yid by Yossi Green which was originally sung by Ari Klien. The strange part for me: I didn't recognize the name of the song but this high part started playing in my head. The song starts with a secular intro and I don't recognize it but it sounds fantastic. Then the high part starts and sure enough I must have heard it because that was the high part I remembered. The new songs on this album are by Elimelech Blumstein and a newcomer Mendy Fisch. The album's tone is set with Elimelech's exciting "Sameach" and features some yiddish, which I wasn't expecting. This is a very nice starting point and Sameach may very well get a lot of playing time in the wedding circuit. Avrumi G did a great job with the horn arrangements and kept the song entertaining. Mendy Fisch's song is a slow ballad: M'hairo. The intro is very contemporary and the ballad is not like most you have ever heard. It is certainly not predictable and after you hear it a few times ( or once) it may become your favorite wedding ballad. It also has some great choir arrangements by Yitzy Spinnner.
Bottom Line: Not sure I would call it a wedding album but it is a lot of fun to listen to and offers a great variety of songs. Avrumi G pulled out a lot of stops on these arrangements and they might very well be some of his best to date. Listen to the sampler and give it some serious consideration as your next Jewish music purchase.