Yale Strom’s Broken Consort
Despite its pervasiveness, Christmas doesn’t have a monopoly on high-quality holiday music in December. Assessing Hanukkah as a celebration of the freedom of faith and thought, Yale Strom’s Broken Consort conveys strength of purpose with its creative mixtures of folk, classical, jazz, blues, rock and traditional Jewish music styles on Shimmering Lights. First-rate violinist-composer-arranger Strom and his colleagues tap into the humanity of Sephardic and Yiddish folk songs. The bandleader’s gifted collaborators include Sara Caswell (who topped the category Rising Star–Violin in the 2017 DownBeat Critics Poll) and Elizabeth Schwartz, who skillfully sings in Yiddish, Hebrew, Ladino and English, immersing herself in the music while eschewing egotism.