Monday, April 13, 2020

RIP Danny Zuckerman

Today I got word that Danny Zuckerman passed away. Although we had fallen out of touch in recent years , we had a long history together, and he is another one of those figures who had an influence on my musical journey. Here are some recollections of my adventures with him :
Although he was only 3 years older than me, he was very experienced when I first met him, having become the in-demand bass player for all the top Israeli artists by age 18 in the early 80s. I had heard of his band “Sanhedrin”  in the late 90s, and went to check them out. I was really impressed - Danny had given up playing bass with successful artists such as Danny Sanderson and “Gan Hayot” to concentrate on his big passion - roots delta Blues. When I asked him why he gave up such good gigs, he said that he had suddenly started asking himself “Is this what I dreamed of as a teenager when I first picked up a guitar?” 
Sanhedrin had 3 acoustic  guitarists (Zuckerman played slide ) and they played the most passionate versions of Robert Johnson and John Lee Hooker I had heard. I was invited to play harmonica on a few songs on their album and after the session, Danny said to me - “You’ll see that you will be proud of this recording for years to come” (click HERE to hear it)
Later we formed an acoustic trio with Yuval Oz on double bass and we named it “The low budget brandy boys”, in honor of the cheap beverages we consumed during rehearsals….
In 2005, CG & The Hammer were set to play at the IBC in Memphis, with shows lined up in Alabama and Florida, and our bass player had just left the band. Danny jumped at the chance to do a pilgrimage to the roots of the Blues, and joined us as a bass player. That incarnation of the band (with Kfir Tzairi on keys) was the best we ever had. The shows were exceptional, and our adventures in New Orleans (Mardi Gras) , Mississippi (meeting Morgan Freeman in Clarksdale) and Memphis (Where Danny, CG & I polished off 27 shots of Jack Daniels together in one sitting…) were unforgettable. 
Danny had written a Cajun -style tune and asked me to write lyrics for it. He said the title was “Silver dollar” - I wrote 3 verses, and he said “Not bad but it needs more” Later when he came to record it with me he heard the 5 verses and said “what were you thinking, writing such a long song??” - To this day, it’s one of my favorite originals (click HERE to hear it)
I could go on and on - we played countless shows together, recorded a whole album together (as well as guesting on each other’s albums) and traveled quite a bit...Danny Zuckerman was a sharp, intelligent and original musician. I learned from him the value of thinking outside the box, never compromising on quality or performance, and the importance of knowing your value as an artist and not selling yourself short.
His journey was too short but he made the most of it. Rest in peace my friend.

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