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A Jam That Goes On Without End

Rabbi Greg Wall on the saxChris Whitehead Rabbi Greg Wall, one of the founders of the Ayn Sof Arkestra and Bigger Band.

The saxophone of a Carnegie Hall veteran and trumpet of a Grammy winner nimbly croon and sway to the drum-brush beat, punctuated by sharp brass notes and bass thumps so close that the front row sees players’ tendons twitch.

That might sound like $150 seats at Lincoln Center, but catching this performance actually requires a padded pew at Sixth Street Synagogue, between First and Second Avenues, home of the Ayn Sof Arkestra and Bigger Band, a Jewish ensemble founded by Greg Wall, the well-known sax-playing rabbi there, and Frank London, his friend and an accomplished trumpeter.

Believed to be one of only a handful of Jewish big bands in the country, the 15-piece group rehearses and plays shows in the Modern Orthodox shul. Lately, its music has added the Talmudic verse of Jake Marmer, poetry columnist for The Forward, the weekly Jewish newspaper.
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