Howard Fishman, who regularly plays the most prestigious jazz clubs in Manhattan, brings his quartet home to Chester for his “Repair the World” concert on Sunday, March 9, at 5 p.m., at Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek.
Fishman, a regular at Joe’s Pub, Lincoln Center, and the Algonquin Oak Room, has a weekend house in Chester, and as a member of the synagogue, has been inspired to put together a program based on the Jewish teaching of “Tikkun Olam,” which translates from the Hebrew to repairing the world.
He says, “To me, the Tikkun Olam idea is related to a few things: using live performance as means of fostering and strengthening community and breaking through the isolation we can all experience (especially during the winter months); pointing to classic, vernacular forms of American music as something we can hang our hats on as Americans at a time when our national profile has taken a beating; putting music into the service of reminding us all of some of the things we ourselves can do to try to effect change in our damaged world through mindful daily practice (calling to our attention the ways that we consume, work, eat, relate to one another, etc); and fostering our own latent talents and those of our neighbors rather than ignoring them or taking them for granted.
“All this sounds very preachy and high-minded, but it’s all stuff that I like to touch on regularly in my performances, both in my between-song spiels and in the song repertoire I work with. Most of all, the show will still be fun…with any luck, maybe even uplifting.”
His own story as a musician is uplifting. He came to New York City after trying to break in as a musician in New Orleans. His first “gigs” in the city were playing jazz standards in the subways for tips. But through his interest in the playwright Eugene O’Neill he came to know an executive at the New York Times who was enchanted by Fishman’s musical ability and his compositions. The journey from the subway to where he is now is also inspiration for his idea of the kind of positive outcomes possible from difficult situations.
Among the many rave reviews that Fishman has received: “Haunting and affecting…” (The New Yorker magazine) and “Scintillating, gritty, brilliant” (the Washington Post.)
The concert, as customary, will feature a reception afterwards with food provided by Simon’s Marketplace in Chester.
For tickets — $25 for adults, free for children under 16 – please call the CBSRZ office, 860.526.8920. They will also be available at the door. Congregation Beth Shalom Rodfe Zedek is located at 55 East Kings Highway in Chester.