HISTORY - Twenty years ago, after playing keyboard with a full band for many years, I started Shir Chodosh as a one-man band. My goal was to provide music that is as lebidig as any full band - but at the cost of a one-man band. I was not crazy about the typical "casio" style one-man bands that are so common in New York. As there were no other one-man bands in Cleveland at the time, I needed to be so good that I could compete with the local full band. So I pulled together my music knowledge, and combined it with my skills as a software engineer to develop a quality product. I spent two years in development; but in December of 1995 Shir Chodosh went live.
A number of years ago, I started recommending adding a saxophone player to my one-man band. In talking with some other musicians, they encouraged me to start my own full band too. So, in 2007, I finally agreed to think about it. However, I did not want to be "just another band" especially, as in out-of-town cities with multiple bands, most of them share many of the same musicians. So I spent a year developing what my full band would be like and how I would make it "a cut above" before I rolled it out in 2008.
ONE-MAN BAND - Without getting too technical... I am not your typical one-man band where the musician holds down a chord with the left hand and a pattern repeats over and over. Some one-man bands sound very good doing that and mixing up styles, but the problem is that they sound like good one-man bands. My goal was to sound like a good full band. Therefore, I developed a system that is not pattern based. It is song based. My music plays the song, not just the style. So if the chord changes from Cm to Fm, the bass can walk up (C, D, Eb, E) leading up to the change because it knows the change is coming. The drums are not a looped pattern with "fills", but rather a live drummer who put in all the nuances that differentiate one song from another even when they have similar styles. The horns can play the same riffs that are on the original CD. Or they can play what I make up. The same goes for all the other instruments. And the song can be arranged differently - with different rhythms and "breaks" each time through. I do not use, "synth" or "tech" sounds (unless the song was released that way on it's original CD) because I want to sound like an authentic ten piece band. And to top it all off, I use a breath controller. This means that when I am playing a wind instrument sound, I actually have to blow into a mouthpiece which gives the expression and control to my music that you will not hear from a one-man band anywhere else in the world. And I sing too. So you do not need to pay for an extra singer. The result? Just ask anyone who has heard me play. Anyone.
FULL BAND - In order to understand the innovations that I have done for my full band, you need to realize that in most "out-of-town" cities, there are not enough Jewish musicians to create a whole band, so more often than not, I use musicians who have never heard of Mordechai Ben David. Therefore, they all play off of charts (sheet music). Traditionally, the band leader either has to put the songs in the order he wants before the dance set and just signal to turn pages, or he has to run to each musician and turn to what the next song will be. This is a horrible system as either you end up playing the same songs in the same order at every wedding (regardless of what is going on on the dance floor), or in order to change songs you have to (somewhat simultaneously) find and turn a number of pages on opposite sides of the stage. In addition, the drummer usually does not get the sheets as it would mean one extra set of pages to turn, as well as risking getting hit with a stick.
So I invented a new system. All my sheet music is stored on my laptop as .pdf files. I put a large computer monitor in front of each musician and connect them all to the laptop. This allows me to put two songs side by side on everyone's screen simultaneously. While we are playing one song, I can monitor the dance floor and decide what song I want next. Then I pull that up on the other side of the screen. No hassle, no fuss, no running around. I can do this all while I sing and play. And allowing the drummer to see the sheets so he can understand the feel of the song is as simple as setting up another screen. A number of band leaders in New York and LA have called me to discuss my system. It is now fairly common to see tablets in use for sheet music, but they are still at a disadvantage to a 24 inch screen.
In addition, I have "personalized" the sheet music with my own personal "feel". There are notes for the drummer, and for other members of the band when I want them to remember a certain fill or break.
D.J. - I am always open to what my customers want in the way of music. I have received many requests over the last few years to either DJ events entirely, or to have live music for part of the event, and then switch to DJ mode. Therefore, I have invested in the equipment and music in order to provide a DJ option. This has become extremely popular as much of today's music can not be reproduced faithfully with real instruments. Additionally, it can be a more cost effective solution for smaller events.
Music turns your event
INTO A PARTY!