May 18, 2017 Double Bill! Sam Thomas & Alon Nechushtan duo; & Nicole Borger (from Brazil!)


8:30-9:45 Alon Nechustan (Israeli pianist and composer) and Samuel Torjman Thomas (saxophones and oud). Traveling in Pairs takes hold of a wide range of Jewish music repertoire – from Eastern Europe to North Africa, Jerusalem and New York – and gives it an entirely fresh treatment.

10-11:15  Raízes/Roots – A Recording of Jewish Songs Reinvented With a Brazilian Sound

Raízes (Roots), the new recording by Brazilian singer and songwriter Nicole Borger, is more than a collection of great songs. It´s a celebration of a life story, from Ekaterinoslav to New York, to São Paulo. Produced and arranged by trumpeter, bandleader and composer Frank London, the songs in Raízes cut a broad swath in Jewish song. In Raízes, Nicole, a Brazilian Jewish artist, cosmopolitan but deeply connected to her roots, celebrates the history that makes her who she is. But while doing so, she also gives voice to the deep desire of immigrants to find places in their new homes without forgetting where they came from and the road traveled.

Born in São Paulo, Brazil, of a multicultural Jewish family, Nicole started taking piano lessons at six, followed by singing classes from age 15 to this date. Along with her musical career, Nicole obtained a Law Degree from the Catholic University of São Paulo, and later studied Composition at São Paulo´s Santa Marcelina University. She is a practicing attorney, as well as an artist and cultural producer.


AsefaMusic presents Traveling in Pairs, a wonderful and explorative duo setup featuring Alon Nechustan (Israeli pianist and composer) and Samuel Torjman Thomas (saxophones and oud). Traveling in Pairs takes hold of a wide range of Jewish music repertoire – from Eastern Europe to North Africa, Jerusalem and New York – and gives it an entirely fresh treatment.

 Samuel R. Torjman Thomas, Ph.D

Dr. Torjman Thomas is a multi-instrumentalist (saxophone, oud, vocals, nay, clarinet, percussion), composer, bandleader, and a professor of ethnomusicology, Jewish studies, and interdisciplinary studies. Actively forging an artist/scholar model for over fifteen years, his scholarship and performance center on musics of the Middle East and North Africa, worldwide Jewish musics, and jazz-based traditions, as well as Sephardi-Mizraḥi studies in poetry, rabbinic thought, and diaspora studies. Dr. Torjman Thomas is bandleader of ASEFA – the critically-acclaimed new music ensemble – and artistic director of the New York Andalus Ensemble – a multiethnic large ensemble featuring a choir and instrumentalists performing traditional musics of North Africa and Spain, in Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish.

Dr. Torjman Thomas is the Director of Curriculum and Institutional Programming at the Brooklyn Music School, as well as an adjunct Assistant Professor of ethnomusicology and Jewish studies at several campuses of the City University of New York (Hunter College, John Jay College, and Brooklyn College) and Montclair State University. He teaches courses on a range of topics, including Muslim-Jewish relations in music, philosophy, and poetics, American popular music, jazz history, jazz improvisation, theory, and composition, and diaspora and sound studies.

Dr. Torjman Thomas is a frequent guest speaker, at cultural institutions, universities, and in ecumenical spaces. For synagogue communities he leads weekend retreats as a chazzan and facilitator of Jewish song traditions – Sephardi piyyutim, niggunim wordless melody singing, Klezmer music, and chazzanus styles – and as a guest speaker on Sephardi-Mizraḥi historical and cultural topics.


Alon Nechushtan’s music adventures has brought him to various far corners of the globe such as the Yokohama ‘Rejoicing Sounds’ Festival in Japan with his contemporary orchestral compositions, The Manila Cultural Center of the Arts, with his Clarinet Concerto for the Philippines Philharmonic Orchestra, The Sao-Paolo Brazil Jewish Music Festival with his groove based Quintet Talat, Toronto and Montreal with his words beyond Jazz Trio and Tel Aviv New Music Biannale with his Compositions for Large Ensemble.

Resident of New York City, Alon has performed in venues such as Carnegie Hall, Jazz @ Lincoln Center, Central Park Summer Stage, The Blue Note Jazz Club and the Kennedy Center with his projects as a band leader of various groups or as an in demand sideman. in October 2015 the kennedy Center has comissioned from Alon Nechushtan a new piece for Billy Strayhorn Centennial Celebration, following by a Far East tour in China and Phillipines, along with Jazz Festivals in Belo Horizonte-Brazil, Israel.

All About Jazz magazine called him “A fantastic pianist-composer with abundant chemistry and boundless eclectisism”, while DownBeat Magazine  recognizes “A talent to watch, with a surfeit of ideas, an unbridled spirit and bold,two-fisted sense of Architecture”.