to the main Klezmershack pageSearch the KlezmerShack:


Note that the latest stuff may not yet be indexed.

Part 1 of this article

George Robinson, GRComm@ writes for the Jewish Week. His book, "Essential Judaism," was published in hardcover by Pocket Books, March 2000. You can find out more at his website.

Articles by George Robinson, available on the KlezmerShack, are:

2004 Chanukah Roundup, by George Robinson, sent 2 Dec 2004.

The Year's Best: the annual "best of" column, by George Robinson, sent 25 Nov 2002.

A Religious Experience: A roundup of recent Jewish liturgical music, by George Robinson, sent 26 Aug 2002.

More Than Klezmer: A sampler of Yiddish vaudeville, folk music and even art song, sent 9 Aug 2002.

Spring Sephardic Music Roundup, send 3 May 2002.

The Spring Roundup, part 1, sent 9 Mar 2002.

The Spring Roundup, part 2, sent 9 Mar 2002.

The Best of 2001 - Hanukah suggestions, sent 7 Dec 2001.

Isaac Stern: Beyond the Fiddle to the Heart of a Man, sent out 5 Oct 2001.

Sounds for the Jewish New Year, sent out 23 Nov 2001.

Slobin on Beregovski (and the survival of Klezmer Music), sent out 30 Aug 2001.

Women of Valor, sent out 15 Aug 2001.

Shabbat, for Starters, sent out 3 Jun 2001.

From Liturgical Rock to the Postmodern, sent out 15 May 2001.

A Sephardic Passover, sent out 25 Mar 2001.

Oh, Klezmer, sent out 18 Mar 2001.

Jewish Classical Music, sent out 1 Mar 2001.

Best of 2000, send out 23 Dec 2000.

Holiday Music for Hanukkah, 6 Dec 2000.

Kidding on the Square, 9/29/00, from the Jewish Week

From the Catskills to Canada, 6/15/00, from the Jewish Week

Sephardic Survey, 05/00, from the Jewish Week

1999 Klezmer Wrapup, from the Jewish Week

Sisters in Swing, 12/15/99, from the Jewish Week

Bending the Genres, October 1998, from the Jewish Week

The Klezmer Drums of Passion, September 1998, from the Jewish Week

Drums of Passion, summer, 1998, from the Jewish Week

Other klezmer articles
on the Internet

The Big Spring Roundup, part 2: L-Y

from the author, 9 Mar '02.
Reprinted by permission of the author.

by George Robinson,

Note: Don't click on any links until the entire file loads, or else the links won't work. I apologize for the inconvenience. webmaster

Layman, Sandra / Little Blackbird
Listen Up! / Jewphoria
Naye Kapelye, Di / A Mazeldiker Yid
North London Voices / North London Voices 2
Popülare Jüdische Künstler / Berlin, Hamburg, München; Popülare Jüdische Künstler / Wien
Regen, Jon / Tel Aviv
Taubman, Craig / The Best of the Rest
Williger, Yisroel / Carlebach Friday Night
Wolford/Rosenblum Duo, The / Laughter and Tears: A Jewish Saga
Yid Vicious / Forverts!

Last week we went from A to K. This week we finish the alphabet, hitting on some major players in the world of New Klez and some significant reissues of Jewish music from Germany and Austria from the heyday before the dark days.

album coverLayman, Sandra / Little Blackbird (Rosin Dust). Nice assortment of recordings that violinist Layman made in the 1980s, including a lot of very exciting live material. An interesting balance of klezmer and other Mediterranean and Balkan musics, with some very capable traditional players backing Layman. Perhaps not to all tastes -- some western ears will have trouble getting used to the microtonal intervals, but a splendid recording by a fine musician. Rating: 5 stars.

 [TOP] To the top of this page

Listen Up! / Jewphoria (Primarily A Cappella). These folks owe a lot more to post-modern doo-wop groups like the Bobs, Vocal Sampling and Manhattan Transfer than to Jewish tight harmony mavens like Be'atachon. The repertoire ranges from Yiddish to Hebrew liturgy and includes generous samplings of "vocal percussion" sound effects (check out their Tito Puente homage on "Oy Mame Bin Ich Farliebt"). Although it doesn't always escape the gimmicky, this is very funny (occasionally silly) and a lot of fun to listen to. A leap forward from their first two CDS. Docked a half-star for length (only 37 minutes). Rating: 3 ½ stars.

 [TOP] To the top of this page

album coverNaye Kapelye, Di / A Mazeldiker Yid (Oriente). An intense and very entertaining examination of the Jewish music of the regions of Marmures and Bukovina in Northern Rumania, a particularly fertile ground for cross-pollinating musicians from Jewish, Gypsy and Hungarian communities, with Hasidic and klezmer elements intermingling in ways that will fascinate the ethnomusicologist and delight anyone. Di Naye Kapelye's usual excellent quintet is beefed up with the addition of Mihály Sipos and Péter Éri of Muszikás. This is a splendid example of how to revisit a tradition without embalming it. Great music and great fun. Rating: 5 stars.

 [TOP] To the top of this page

North London Voices / North London Voices 2 (self-distributed). A very different a cappella sound, ten women singing in a variety of styles, ranging from the stark Scandinavian tones of a Finnish setting of Emily Dickinson to a warm, if somewhat studied "Steal Away." Perhaps the most impressive offering here is a Russian Orthodox chant, "Gosdpodi Pomiluj," highlighting an astonishingly ethereal soprano voice. There are several nicely judged Jewish numbers, including an effective traditional "Adon Olam" and three Sephardic romanceros. At 24 minutes, this feels like an audition EP showcasing the range of the group; one comes away wishing each cut were longer. The CD sound is a little too bright, making the top voices sound rather metallic. This CD is almost sold out, I am told, but the group is going to repackage it with their out-of-print first effort. (For more information, e-mail the musical director, Lucy Fisher, at Rating: 3 stars.

 [TOP] To the top of this page

Popülare Jüdische Künstler / Berlin, Hamburg, München (Trikont). Popülare Jüdische Künstler / Wien (Trikont). These two sets include 3 CDS (two for Berlin, Hamburg and Munich) of music from the cabaret and variety stages of the great theatrical cities of the German language between 1903 and 1936, focussing entirely on a treasure trove of Jewish artists who were the backbone of those traditions before the deluge that swept them away. Some survived by coming to America or London, others died before the rise of the Nazis, but some were killed in the camps like Max Ehrlich and Kurt Gerron. The documentation for these two sets is excellent but in German. The remastering is state of the art. And the music is mostly quite charming. If your taste in American pop music of this period runs to Crosby, Chevalier, McDonald (without Eddy, please) and the like, you will enjoy these three CDS. Rating: 4 ½ stars for the music, 5 stars for the presentation and historical importance.

 [TOP] To the top of this page

Regen, Jon / Tel Aviv (Q&W). A delightful live album from young jazz pianist Regen, putting him with a trio of very good Israeli musicians (Itai Kriss, flute; Gilad Abro, bass; Shay Zelman, drums) at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art. A former student of Kenny Barron's, Regen's playing is swift, deft and melodic, just like his teacher's. The writing on his originals, "Tel Aviv Suite" (in three parts) and "Requiem" is intelligent and sensitive. He even sings halfway decently on Cole Porter's "Get Out of Town." A straightahead post-bop album of considerable charm. Rating: 4 ½ stars.

 [TOP] To the top of this page

Taubman, Craig / The Best of the Rest (Craig + Co.). Twenty cuts selected from the several albums that Taubman has made over the past dozen years. The material ranges from the treacly sentimentality of "Wedding Song" (Mike Douglas could have recorded this one without any changes at all) to faux hard-rock. Taubman's English-language material never rises much above the sophistication level of Barry Manilow. The Hebrew songs are somewhat better but unless you're a big fan of his, I can't see why you'd want this record. Rating: 2 stars.

 [TOP] To the top of this page

Williger, Yisroel / Carlebach Friday Night (Sameach). Williger set out to recreate the Carlebach kabbalat shabbat repertoire and, despite the presence of a synth and electric keyboards, he manages the job quite nicely. What's missing, of course, is Reb Shlomo's particular brand of ruakh and his storytelling, but the music is here and well performed. Williger's voice is not much more than serviceable, but if you are into Carlebach you won't have a big problem with it. The "Titkabel" is particularly spirited. Rating: 4 stars.

 [TOP] To the top of this page

Wolford/Rosenblum Duo, The / Laughter and Tears: A Jewish Saga (Centaur). Respectful, intelligent playing by two classically trained musicians of bland material that ranges from academic reworkings of klezmer to obscure Irving Berlin, with a stopover at Paul Ben-Haim's house in Israel. But why would you listen to this politely ersatz stuff when you can hear a good klezmer band, the folk music that Ben-Haim was imitating, or Joan Morris and Bill Bolcom doing Berlin? I'd rather see Wolford and Rosenblum find a better outlet for their obvious talent. The recording of the vocals is rather distant, not that it matters. Rating: 2 ½ stars.

 [TOP] To the top of this page

album coverYid Vicious / Forverts! (Uvulittle). This band's second album, like its first is primarily raucous, lively mainstream New Klez from the Middle West (Wisconsin, to be exact). A great party album, a little ragged at times but that's an overflow of energy at work. Lots of new and/or imaginatively reworked material. (Available from Rating: 4 stars.

Consumer Notes: If you're looking to buy an album reviewed here, try your local Judaica store or Jewish bookstore. Failing that, you can usually find records reviewed in this column at either Hatikvah Music ( or 1-323-655-7083) or Tara Music ( or 1-800-827-2400)

to top of page To top of page

the KlezmerShack   Ari's home page 

to About the Jewish-music mailing list
to The Klezmer Shack main page
to Ari Davidow's home page

Thank you for visiting:
Contents copyright © 2002 by George Robinson. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Page last revised 11 June, 2007.