Kruzenshtern and Parahod live in Tel Aviv
On a recent quick trip to Israel I managed to catch one of the bands I have most wanted to see, Kruzenshtern and Parahod (קרוזנשטרן ופרחוד). I have reviewed a couple of their CDs here on the KlezmerShack, starting with their first, The Craft of Primitive Klezmer. The band was as wonderful as I had already hoped. The set was part of a showcase of Israeli bands, none of which seemed particularly interesting to either my companions or me. But when this quartet took the stage, everything changed. Imagine John Zorn and Fred Frith taking "Naked City" to a pop showcase:
Talking to the bandleader, Igor Krutogolov, on a quiet afternoon in Tel Aviv we reviewed influences (okay, Zorn and Frith are obvious; others include the UK band, the Cardiacs, and ZU from Italy) and talked about the frustration of being a niche band in a tiny country. There is no place local to tour—there aren't enough local people interested in avant garde jazz to sustain anything beyond the occasional concert in Tel Aviv. They have been to several festivals in Europe, and periodically consider moving the band there.
Krutogolov talks mostly of the music as personal expression. It has precision; he often compared what he is doing to classical music, and indeed, as I stood opposite the band's newest member, accordionist Boris Martzinovsky in concert, I noted complex charts spread across a large music stand. The band is also very, very tight.
The music is really what he does. He has a day job to pay the bills, but, if we are fortunate, he will continue to push the music far into the future. A new KvP CD may be in the works this year. If I had my way, I'd see them here in the States. Anyone interested in helping, should contact me