Review | Songlist
More about the bands
The groups have also recorded with Perlman:
Browsing through my local record store recently I came upon some awful mishmash called something like "all the Jewish music you'll ever need," played by the London Symphony Orchestra or somesuch, consisting, mostly, of Fiddler on the Roof songs. Feh. Take a tip from Ari. You want an album that exemplifies klezmer music where it is today? You want an album that you can play for your grandparents or grandkids and everyone is gonna kvell (make happy noises). This is the one.
First off, I really think that Perlman, otherwise known as a wonderful classical violinist, really gets this klezmer stuff. Second off, on this album he is playing with some of the best bands out there--and even better, bands that represent a variety of modern approaches to klezmer. And he's Perlman, so he manages to fit in, regardless. I mean, we're listening to styles that go from the full tilt boogie of the Klezmatics on "The Gayster" or "Fisherlid", to the bluegrass phrasing on Andy Statman's "Tati Un Mama Tants." For that matter, as an innocent byproduct, we also have a CD recording of Statman's wonderful, and seminal, "Flatbush Waltz," a song I haven't heard live or on recording in too many years.
All things considered, the only reason not to have this album is because you've already bought the VCR of the concert, and don't feel that you need both. (Bootlegs off your TV from the zillion PBS rebroadcasts don't count.) This isn't revolutionary klez, or the next generation, it's a celebration of klezmer and Jewish music played impeccably, with spirit and enjoyment. That's a very good thing.
I just wish the typography on the otherwise impeccable liner notes wasn't so ghastly. Even Lorin Sklamberg's Yiddish typesetting is placed on the wrong side of the page, presumably to fight ease of moving the eye back and forth between transcription and the hebrew letters--and that is the least of typographic sins: Bad column width; questionable type choice; clear lack of awareness of proper symbols (typewriter quotes, for instance); horrific line breaks; general blotchy ugliness. But you aren't going to read the liner notes, complete though they are--just relax and listen to the music.
Reviewed by Ari Davidow 5/26/96