Yoshie Fruchter

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yoshie Fruchter
Background information
Birth nameYehoshua Fruchter
Born (1982-02-01) 1 February 1982 (age 41)
Silver Spring, MD
GenresJazz, klezmer, world music, rock, heavy metal
Instrument(s)Guitar, bass, oud, mandolin
Years active2001–present
LabelsTzadik Records
Blue Thread Music

Yoshie Fruchter (born February 1, 1982)[1] is an American experimental jazz guitarist, bassist, oud player and composer.

Early life and education[edit]

Fruchter was born and raised in Silver Spring, Maryland, in an Orthodox Jewish household,[2] singing and playing Jewish music in his youth.[3] His father is a musician, and his sister Temim is the former drummer of the indie punk band The Shondes.[1] He studied jazz in the music department at the University of Maryland,[4] and moved to Brooklyn, New York, in 2005.[5]

Music career[edit]


Fruchter's debut solo album as composer and guitarist, Pitom, was released in 2008.[6] The Wall Street Journal called it "a dazzling debut"[6] and JazzTimes called the debut "audacious," describing it as klezmer music with a punk sensibility.[7] "Pitom" is Hebrew for "Suddenly,"[8] and the album was named after his band,[3] which, along with Fruchter on guitar, includes Jeremy Brown (violin), Shanir Blumenkranz (bass) and Kevin Zubek (drums).[7]

Pitom's second album, Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes, was released in 2011. Fruchter again composed and played guitar, with the album further exploring Jewish music along with surf and sludge metal influences.[2] The album was chosen by The Forward as one of the newspaper's 2011 Forward Fives, an annual list honoring five of the most important Jewish music releases of the year.[9]

Fruchter's music combines elements of jazz, klezmer, rock, surf and heavy metal, while exploring themes of God, religion, repentance and redemption.[2][3][10] Both Pitom albums have been released on John Zorn's Tzadik Records label.[10] Fruchter has been described as a member of the "Radical Jewish Culture" scene, a term coined by Zorn.[2][3]


In December 2014, Fruchter released Cantorial Recordings Reimagined, an album with a new band called Schizophonia, in which he arranged Jewish cantorial recordings for a progressive rock quintet, with world music influences.[11] Also in the band are Shanir Blumenkranz (bass), Brian Marsella (keyboards), Yonadav Halevy (drums) and Rich Stein (percussion).[12]

Other projects[edit]

In 2006, Fruchter collaborated with his father, Chaim (Harold) Fruchter on Beyond the Book, an album of songs they co-wrote and produced that explore critical moments in the lives of various Biblical personalities.[13]

Fruchter is a member of Jon Madof's 13-piece afrobeat group Zion80, playing guitar on the group's self-titled 2013 debut. In April 2014, Zion80 released its second album, Adramelech, an interpretation of John Zorn's Masada Book 2: The Book of Angels, on which Fruchter again played guitar.[14]

Fruchter is also a frequent substitute with the instrumental rock quartet Abraxas, which also performs the music of Zorn's Masada;[15] a member of Pakistani/American collaboration Sandaraa;[16] doom metal band Deveykus;[1] and Frank London's Shekhina Big Band,[17] among other projects, many of which explore the relationship of Jewish culture, identity and music.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Fruchter resides in Brooklyn, New York,[3] with his wife, journalist Leah Koenig, and their son.[9] He is an observant Orthodox Jew.[2]



Year Title
2006 Beyond the Book
  • By: Yoshie Fruchter and Chaim Fruchter
  • Released: February 2006
  • Label: Self-released
  • Formats: CD
2008 Pitom
2011 Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes
  • By: Pitom
  • Released: February 22, 2011
  • Label: Tzadik Records
  • Formats: CD, digital download
2014 Cantorial Recordings Reimagined
  • By: Schizophonia
  • Released: December 15, 2014
  • Label: Blue Thread Music
  • Formats: CD, digital download

Appears on[edit]

Year Album Artist Credits
2004 Shemspeed Alt Schule Juez Bass
2007 Eitan Katz Unplugged Eitan Katz Bass
2008 Monkey Dance Soulfarm Guitar, bass
2009 Boruch Hu Eitan Katz Guitar, bass
2010 Holy Ground Soulfarm Bass
Yiddish Princess Yiddish Princess Guitar
Have No Fear Breslov Bar Band Bass
2011 Eitan Katz Unplugged 2 Eitan Katz Bass
Resonance Asefa Guitar, oud
Joey's Nigunim: Spontaneous Jewish Choir Joey Weisenberg Vocals
2012 Joey's Nigunim Vol. II: Transformation of a Nigun Joey Weisenberg Mandolin, vocals
Willamette Willamette Guitar
2013 Shuvu Eitan Katz Bass
Pillar Without Mercy Deveykus Guitar
Joey's Nigunim Vol. III: Live in the Choir Loft Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble Bass, vocals
Zion80 Jon Madof Guitar
Happy Hour Breslov Bar Band Bass
2014 Joey's Nigunim Vol. IV: Brooklyn Spirituals Joey Weisenberg and the Hadar Ensemble Upright bass, vocals
Adramelech: Book of Angels Volume 22 Zion80 Guitar
2017 Cat Toren's HUMAN KIND Cat Toren's HUMAN KIND Guitar, Oud
2020 Scintillating Beauty Cat Toren's HUMAN KIND Oud
Ruthless Cosmopolitans EP Ruthless Cosmopolitans (Eprhyme, Jon Madof) Bass
2022 Holy Chutzpah Breslov Bar Band Bass


  1. ^ a b c d Matthue Roth, “Jazz Is the New Klezmer: An Interview with Yoshie Fruchter,” Jewcy, January 27, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e Mordechai Shinefield, “The Secret History of Jewish Metal,” The Forward, March 18, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d e Christopher R. Weingarten, “Yes In My Backyard,” Village Voice, September 22, 2009.
  4. ^ Paul Wieder, “E-pitom-izing Jewish Rock,” Oy! Chicago, March 22, 2011.
  5. ^ Matthue Roth, “Genre Benders,” Tablet, November 6, 2008.
  6. ^ a b Jim Fusilli, “They Don’t All Sound Familiar,” Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2008.
  7. ^ a b Bill Milkowski, “Yoshie Fruchter’s Pitom,” JazzTimes, March 2009.
  8. ^ Jason Bivins, “Dusted Reviews: Yoshie Fruchter – Pitom,” Dusted, April 15, 2009.
  9. ^ a b “Forward Fives: 2011 in Music,” The Forward, December 19, 2011.
  10. ^ a b Sean Murphy, “Pitom: Blasphemy and Other Serious Crimes,” PopMatters, April 13, 2011.
  11. ^ Jake Marmer, “5 Albums To Pick Up in 2015,” The Forward, December 31, 2014.
  12. ^ “Golem / Schizophonia / Doppelskope / Brian Marsella’s Imaginarium,” NY Blueprint, October 23, 2014.
  13. ^ “Biblical characters come alive in song; Father-son team creates ‘Beyond the Book’ CD,” Washington Jewish Week, February 23, 2006.
  14. ^ Sean Murphy, “Zion80: Adramelech: Book of Angels Volume 22,” PopMatters, November 14, 2014.
  15. ^ “Eyal Maoz’ Abraxas,” NY Blueprint, July 15, 2014.
  16. ^ Sandaraa, The Montreal Jewish Music Festival, August 27, 2014.
  17. ^ George Robinson, “Frank London’s Latest Project Is Really Big,” The Jewish Week, February 2, 2013.

External links[edit]