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Review of Shloime Gertner’s Say Asay, by JMR France

This review was originally written in French, by our friends at, we hope to bring you the English versions of their reviews now for future albums as well.

With the release of the new album of Shloime Gertner, we feared that he would be unable to put out a second album as good as his first album.   Nissim  was an explosive album with a true clean style and was so good that we wondered if Shloime would be able to keep up that level of quality, not easy thing. With Say Asay, Shloime does not maintain the rhythm, but more than that, it bursts all the meters!

We propose an analysis, rating the 14 songs on this album. Shloime was generous, providing us with so many songs.  Putting that many songs on an album is a risk.  Often as soon as one gives too much, one loses in quality, which is not the case here!

Say Asay 9.5 – First of all, the pun Say Asay, is very good, reflecting the very jovial personality of Shloime. It is a composition of Yossi Green, based on teaching of the Mishna Brurah, that when one says Asei Lemaan Shemecha, Asei Lemaan Yemineicha, Asei Lemaan Soroyscha, Asei Lema’an Kedushoseycha (in Tfilas Shmona Esrei) with כוונה, they will have the merit to be Mekabel Pnei Hashech’ino!  As of the first second, one  is quickly drawn into the rhythm.  Gertner is very energetic and Yossi Green does not fail to ensure the musical background. There is very a good game of rhythm which avoids plunging in a monotonous refrain.  Moshe Laufer really did a good job on the arrangements.

HaShamoyim 10 – A composition of Yitzy Waldner, completely exceptional. An impression of velvet, which builds to musical perfection at the right moment. Yitzy was not satisfied to only compose it, he sometimes sings with Shloime in solo, sometimes in vocal background and adds just the right flavor.

Ashrei 9 – An intro chosen very well.  The music arrives gradually, and then all goes very quickly.   Gertner connects, recalling Im Eyn Ani Li of the previous album of Shloime. Arrangements of Eli Lishinsky are on target.

Nishmas 9.5 – As of the beginning one is plunged in a very particular environment with voices of children, resounding, who read “Nishmas koll chay”, environment is rather cold. A title full of depth which describes the greatness of HaKadosh Baruch Hu. After a very mystical beginning, one feels a feeling of confidence and then arrives the time of ‘Go’el u’Moyshia’: Splendid!

BeSimcha 9.5 – A very good combination of rhythms and styles, with a very Middle Eastern style at the end: Yala wala Yala and… Freilach! Yossi Green did an excellent job on this song, not only in its role as composer, but also in his role of setting the adapted environment. Yossi: Cheers!

Shabbos HaYom 10 – After Malke’le from the previous album, Shabbos HaYom is again on Shabbos. Baruch Levine is the composr of this understated and soft song, where Shloime seems  at ease.

Barouch Sheomar 9 – an other gem of Yitzy Waldner which does not miss rhythm, with very clear and good arrangements. A title which reflects a turning of Gertner’ style, a little more commercial.  Well cut refrains which involves you from the very first listening.

Re’ eh 9 – Shloime reveals his very greater range, going up really high, and suitably (unlikely the original Aderabe Fried one J). The aim is not to make decibels, but to ensure a harmony, Shloime does not fail!

Ein K’elokeynu 10 – Perhaps the best ‘dance’ title in the album, in terms of originality. Great work from the sound engineers. An arrangement similar to one already seen in Sfor Hakoych’ovim of Yossi Green’s 8th Note. But there, Yitzy Waldner does it with very a smoothness.

Min Hameitzar 10 – Doubtless the best album title, as regards the calm music. The words are in total adequacy with the music. Shloime sings with dviekus, that touches Neshoma.

Mesameah 9.5 – Once again an Eastern colour is found, which sublimates the title. It is a composition of Yitzy Waldner and Motty Ilowitz, which is interpreted with great professionalism, the recourse to acute is appropriate completely.

Mi Von Siah 8.5 – It is the title devoted to Chupa. Consequently the style is rather traditional, with a great solemnity. It is of the obligatory style common to wedding music, but performed successfully by Shloime.

Happy Birthday 10 – The name of the title makes a little laugh, it is well the first time that this title is seen. The concept is based on a passage of Tehilim. Shloime communicates a confidence (‘sheal mimeini…’) that is completely suitable. One does not expect Happy Birthday too much, as soon as that arrives that gives the smile: It is the English touch of the album.

Yevarechicha 9 – The intro an Eastern piyout, but it is not a payout: The transition is made with an arrangement which points out the beginning of the Nissim track of the preceding album of Shloime. The title is very sympathetic (by the way, we heard clearly the English accent of Shloime on the word `Yaer’).

Maybe the best album of this year, with the last album of Mordechai Ben David (M.B.D) Koulam Ahouvim. Nowadays, there are a lot of new releases, with excellent arrangements, even good composition, but the problem is that even if we like a new release, it is soon forgotten. Mordechei (M.B.D) says that we have to do a `Chiddush’ in music. In this opus, Shloime shows the way to us to be followed, with excellent compositions and arrangements. The compositions are not foreseeable, they are filled of nuances. Absent perhaps Lipa Schmeltzer, we could have expected a title in Yiddish like  Shmeichel or Moidim (M.B.D). In addition, we can underline an important element, too often omitted by the singers, the intervention of singers in the album. Shloime had already done it with Chaim Stern in Nissim, here it is Ami Eller, and Yitzy Waldner. That adds variety in the album. Say Asay proves that we can prodcuce an exceptional combination with the Chassidic style and the Eastern style. With the image of a chemist, the type-setter must find the good composition, the perfect mixture. It is what was made in this album, Shloime dared and that succeeded. About the voice, Shloime is much more at ease that the first album, controlling his voice completely, the passage to high or low registers. Shloime handles with subtlety the high ones, it is really very beautiful!

An album done this well is rare on the market, with excellent compositions and vocals.  A very great album !

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