» It sounds like a wipeout waiting to happen. Yet somehow Meshugga Beach Party’s sixteen Jewish standards, rearranged as surf music and produced by guitarist Mel Waldorf ’93, turn out not to be so crazy. The twangy timbre of surf guitar manages to invigorate the songs, most notably the wedding classic “Hava Nagila” and the Passover melody “Dayenu,” without bailing on them. The net effect is Hawaii Five-0 set in a Middle Eastern bazaar. While some may be offended (especially by the Yom Kippur dirge “Kol Nidre”), Meshugga Beach Party is fun background music for your next luau. Minus the pig roast, of course. » Former Roomful of Blues trumpeter Al Basile ’70 has a new CD, Red Breath, produced by his old Roomful colleague Duke Robillard, who also cameos on it. A onetime poet, Basile wrote most of the love songs on the disc; he plays cornet and sings, Tony Bennett–style.
—Zachary Block ’99