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Fima Ephron

Fima Ephron

During the 1990s, bassist Fima Ephron explored an intriguing amalgam of funk, fusion and hip-hop with such stellar renegade outfits as Lost Tribe, Screaming Headless Torsos and Lunar Crush, a short-lived concept band formed by guitarist Dave Fiuczynski and keyboardist John Medeski. With Soul Machine, his debut as a leader on John Zorn’s Tzadik label, Ephron is pursuing a far more personal muse.

“It’s an exploration of Jewish melodies, jazz and improvised music, with sort of an element of electronic music in there as well,” explains the 40-year-old Woodstock resident, who has also racked up sideman credits touring with pop stars Natalie Merchant and Me’Shell NdegéOcello and recording with Walter Becker (11 Tracks of Whack on Warner Bros.). “I had been playing with some groups that are exploring the Jewish music thing, like Hasidic New Wave. And [guitarist and former Lost Tribe bandmate] Adam Rogers had also recently played with someone who is big in the klezmer world, so it was just something that was kind of in the air. And when I approached Zorn about doing a project, he said he wanted it to be coming from that world. Basically, he wanted my interpretation of what that is.”

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