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Mozaik Biography

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Mozaik In-depth Biography

Rock} and improvisational} jazz} influences have been blended with klezmer} and Jewish music} traditions to create the trance}-like dance} music of Berkeley, CA-based octet Mozaik}. Their musical hybrid has been called "psychedelic} Jewgrass," "klezmer}-trance} music," and Fiddler on the Roof}-meets-the Grateful Dead}. The Jewish Bulletin} described a concert by Mozaik} as "combining hypnotic guitar riffs with a deep bass backdrop, and with a saxophonist who looked like {%Flash Gordon} and blew like Sonny Rollins}." Forward} magazine described the group as "an eight-person act whose loopy costumes made them look like a white version of George Clinton}'s P-Funk All Stars}." A writer for the High Sierra Music Festival} observed that "Mozaik} takes the jamming approach that often employs jazz} sensibilities and brings tribal}-trance} to Masada}-like enormity with tabla, mandolin, violin, dumbek, bass clarinet, and more."

Mozaik} was launched at the University of California-Berkeley as a duo featuring guitar, mandolin, saz, bells, seeds, and shells player Brett Jacobson}; keyboardist Peter Kafin}; and an ever-changing cast of supporting musicians. In the early '90s, Jacobson} and Kafin} were invited to accompany Hasidic teacher and Jewish musician Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach} on a tour of Morocco. The two musicians continued to perform with Carlebach} in Israel, New York, and California. The experience sparked a passion for traditional} Jewish} melodies and niggun (Hebrew for "melody without words"). A highlight of Mozaik}'s touring schedule is an annual concert that celebrates Chanukah in San Francisco. Jacobson} and Kafin}, who holds a Master's degree in music therapy, share an interest in the healing powers of music. In 1994, Jacobson} founded a music therapy organization.

In the mid-'90s, Mozaik} settled on a more formal lineup that included contrabass, electric bass, shofar, and sampler player Justin Katz}; violin, fiddle, and saw player Morgan Fichter}; and saxophone, flute, bass clarinet, and slide whistle player Shroeder}. The rhythm section features tabla, dumbek, traps, flute, and clabash player and vocalist Aharone Bolsta}; riqq (Middle Eastern tambourine), zills (finger cymbal), and dumbek player Jen Miriam}; and traps and percussion player Patrick Kaliski}. ~ Craig Harris, All Music Guide

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