Music is the Most Beautiful Language in the World – Yiddisher Jazz in London’s East End 1920s to 1950s
New label JWM Records launch with the selection Music is the Most Beautiful Language in the World. A vibrant soundtrack to the Cockney Jewish experience, starting when the swinging hot dance bands were still all the rage, and the Yiddish language was spoken on the streets of Whitechapel, in London’s East End. For some, music or acting was a potential way out of the poverty experienced by these first and second generation refugees.
Sounds from long-forgotten 78 rpm discs only recently unearthed, reveal a host of recording artists, united here for the first time. Klezmer fused very easily with jazz, a connection that becomes apparent in these recordings. Hear the legendary dance band figures of the era like Bert Ambrose and his Orchestra, and Lew Stone and his Monseigneur Band, to the relatively unknown Jewish speciality acts like Johnny Franks and his Kosher Ragtimers, and Rita Marlowe, the siren of Yiddish song. Delight in the cheeky street patter of the incomparable slapstick drummer Max Bacon, rejoicing in the East Enders' love affair with ‘Beigels’; celebrate the world famous Petticoat Lane street market with not one, but two fox-trots - but also shed a tear with Leo Fuld, the remarkable Dutch Yiddish singer, whose recordings in post-war London were haunting reminders of a way of life decimated by the Holocaust.
Music is the most Beautiful Language in the World is compiled by Alan Dein, multi-award winning radio documentary presenter, whose own family harks back to the major wave of immigrants fleeing the pogroms in Eastern Europe from the end of the 19th century. The album title is inspired by a 1920s Yiddish slogan of an East London gramophone record shop, from a time when Whitechapel was a fertile breeding ground for singers, musicians, proprietors of record shops and club owners - according to Dein “their stories are now entwined with the development of the British recorded music industry. But for the first time ever, we can the discover the remarkable sounds of Jewish-themed jazz recorded in London between the 1920s and the 1950s - which thankfully had been preserved within the grooves of ancient discs”.
Designed by Will Bankhead, the LP comes with a fold-out insert, the slip-case CD (with one bonus track to the vinyl) with a 24 page booklet, both including a detailed essay by Dein, illustrated with rare photos and memorabilia. This release is co-compiled by Howard Williams, who has released a series of compilations spanning Moondog (The Viking of Sixth Avenue), Killing Melody (Japanese gangster soundtracks), cult Japanese jazz singer Maki Asakawa, and several other Japanese retrospectives.