Our Musical Lineup
Alan Pollack has been playing the piano since he was 8 years old. He holds a B.A. in Music from Brooklyn College CUNY, and a PhD in Music Theory and Composition from the University of Pennsylvania. After retiring from a 35-year Boston-based career in software engineering he relocated to Richmond in 2015 where he has returned to his first love, the piano.
He is best known as a musicologist for analyzing every song released by The Beatles. He started the project in 1989 and finished in 2000, covering 187 original songs and 25 cover songs. The analyses have come to be known as the “Notes on …” Series and it is readily accessible on the internet.
Ivan has worked with many of the renown figures in the world of Blues, backing a partial list of performers including: James Thunderbird Davis, Nappy Brown, Floyd Dixon, Earl King, Billy Boy Arnold, and Mick Fleetwood. He has toured and/or recorded with Jumpin' Johnny and the Blues Party, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, the Nighthawks, Big Joe and the Dynaflows, Marion James, and L'il Ronnie and the Grand Dukes. Ivan has appeared along with his Dynaflow bandmates on BET's Jazz Central and on the theatre stage in several productions of "A Closer Walk With Patsy Cline," starring Broadway's Julie Johnson in the title role, with Ivan, a member of Patsy's band, performing on-stage the repertoire of the country music star.
In 2011, EllerSoul Records released Blue And Instrumental, Ivan's first recording as bandleader. Met with critical praise and flattering reviews throughout the United States and abroad, Blue and Instrumental was featured on DJ playlists around the world, was licensed for use on the daytime soap, All My Children, appeared for a multitude of weeks on the Living Blues radio chart, and continues to receive national and international airplay. This debut recording under his own name garnered Ivan a Blues Blast Magazine nomination in the year's "Best New Artist" category and an invitation to appear at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago.
Not afraid of new artistic challenges or to pursue new musical and personal goals, Ivan has since 2015, been bringing his long-time love of acoustic fingerstyle blues and ragtime guitar to the live stage, performing the musical stylings of Blind Blake, Rev Gary Davis, MS John Hurt, Big Bill Broonzy, Robert Johnson and those of the other greats and lesser knowns of the genre--a musical event featuring the early blues traditions of the Eastern Piedmont, the Mississippi Delta, and the cottonfields of the Deep South.
The name of the full group is Klezm’Or’Ami’m (which translates into “klezmer musicians from Congregation Or Ami, a dynamic sacred community grounded in Reform Judaism.” Hebrew is a remarkably concise language). When we play private parties like weddings or bar mitzvahs we’re usually only three or four people, and then we’re “Klezm’Or’or’Less.” The late Alan Smith founded the group around 1994 as a study group but we just couldn’t keep such a good thing to ourselves…
The members of Klezm’Or’Ami’m include a Ph.D., a pediatrician, a pediatric cardiologist, an adult cardiologist, an association executive, two computer mavens, a hair stylist, a reluctant entrepreneur, a couple of teachers, a hug of grandfathers, a native Yiddish speaker, a Holocaust survivor, a personnel professional, a flautist, a violinist, two clarinetists, a trumpet player, a trombonist, a saxophonist, a drummer, a bassist two keyboard players (one doubling on accordion), a vocalist and a manager -- and we’re only eleven people!
My Son the Doctor plays an eclectic, infectiously danceable mix of Eastern European, Balkan, and Mediterranean folk musics, with an emphasis on Yiddish, Hebrew, and Romani traditions: Klezmer dance tunes, Yiddish folk and theater songs, Israeli folk songs, Chassidic songs, Ladino songs, contemporary and traditional Roma songs, and Balkan pop.