Greta Gertler and the Universal Thump at Barbes

July 10, 2012 by · Comments Off
Filed under: arts and culture 

Greta Gertler sends me press releases from time to time and I read them. At first I read them because of the last name that we share. Her’s, however, is spelled without the annoying—and distinctive—h as in Ghertler.

Now I read her press releases because I know how very talented she is.

Gertler will be  performing with her band, The Universal Thump at Barbes in Park Slope on Thursday, July 26. They will be joined onstage by special guests Alec Spiegelman & Kristin Slipp (Cuddle Magic) and Byron Isaacs (Ollabelle).

The Universal Thump performed an acclaimed “All Things Must Pass” benefit concert/recording project on the anniversary of the release of that incredible record with special guest Rick Moody, Missy Higgins, Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), John Wesley Harding and many others.

Read my ecstatic review of that show here: http://onlytheblogknowsbrooklyn.com/tag/the-universal-thump/ Here’s an excerpt:

“Only in Brooklyn could a super group of stellar musicians calling themselves The Universal Thump come together to recreate the Phil Spector-style wall of sound that enhanced George Harrison’s 1970 All Things Must Pass.

“Only in Brooklyn could this dizzying array of vocalists and instrumentalists, perform the entire, yes, the entire three-album set.  In the process they brought down the house not once but numerous times during the three-hour show at The Bell House last night, November 29th, the 10th anniversary of Harrison’s death from cancer and just days away from the albums release date in 1970.”

At Barbes, the band will preview songs from their forthcoming eponymous double orchestral whale-pop album, to be released in the US on October 2, 2012.

 

The Universal Thump Rocks the Bell House with George Harrison Tribute

November 30, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: arts and culture 

Somehow it seemed appropriate to honor George Harrison, once the under-rated Beatle, in Brooklyn, once the under-rated borough.

Second fiddle no more. A large group of Brooklyn musicians restored George Harrison  to his rightful place in the pantheon of 20th century genius songwriters.

In other words: George Harrison: you rock. And so do organizers Greta Gertler and Adam D. Gold, whom, just weeks after the 20th anniversary of John Lennon’s death (and the attending tributes and nostalgia) had the audacity and the common sense to celebrate another ex-Beatles masterpiece from 40 years ago.

Only in Brooklyn could a super group of stellar musicians calling themselves The Universal Thump come together to recreate the Phil Spector-style wall of sound that enhanced George Harrison’s 1970 All Things Must Pass.

Only in Brooklyn could this dizzying array of vocalists and instrumentalists, perform the entire, yes, the entire three-album set.  In the process they brought down the house not once but numerous times during the three-hour show at The Bell House last night, November 29th, the 10th anniversary of Harrison’s death from cancer and just days away from the albums release date in 1970.

All Things Must Pass, co-produced by Harrison and the legendary (and scary) Phil Spector, is an album loved by many, including Greta Gertler and Andy Gold, the team behind this hugely ambitious undertaking.

I asked Gertler, a singer/songwriter and pianist, what it is she loves about the album, which ranges from spirituals  such as “My Sweet Lord” to a host of country-style ballads and ‘wall-of-sound’ pop masterpieces such as “What is Life?”

“The album is just so inspiring. I love every minute of it and it makes me feel like writing songs is important in the world,” she told me. “The album is consistently fantastic with a spirit of adventure and exploration.”

“Will there be another show of this?” I asked Gertler after the show eager to know if this group of 40 musicians are set to repeat the magic of Monday night.

“I haven’t even gotten that far,” she told me.

Indeed, Gertler had every right to be exhausted (and elated). What she and Gold accomplished was a masterful feat of producing. The matching of singer to song was near perfect and the musical arrangements were mind boggling good. The album itself is so brilliantly calibrated from song to song that the concert itself had an almost perfect pace.

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The Universal Thump to Perform All Things Must Pass in Its Entirety

November 23, 2010 by · Comments Off
Filed under: arts and culture 

After sobbing through last night’s American Masters’ documentary Lennon NYC, timed for the 30th anniversary of Lennon’s death, I’m ready for some George Harrison

Coming to The Bell House on November 29th at 8PM, there’s a 40th anniversary celebration of of All Things Must Pass, the former Beatles’ first solo (triple) album, released on November 27th, 1970.

Interestingly, it was the best-selling album of any solo Beatle and was co-produced by Harrison and the legendary Phil Spector (who later worked with John Lennon on Rock ‘n Roll).

The album displays Harrison’s spiritual side “My Sweet Lord,” as well as  “Behind That Locked Door” to ‘wall-of-sound’ wonders such as “What is Life?”

Out of love for the album, The Universal Thump, a Brooklyn-based orchestral pop collective, led by singer-songwriter-pianist, Greta Gertler and Adam B Gold will perform “All Things Must Pass” in its entirety with a 15-piece, expanded ‘wall-of-sound’ mode including: 2 drummers, 2 bass players, strings, horns, guitarists, keyboardists and more with the guest vocalists listed above.

P.S. Greta Gertler shares my maiden name (minus the H). Yay for G(h)ertlers!