South Coast Simcha Band / Classic American Klezmer

okay, so the cover isn't as classy as the music. would you really be happier if it were the other way around?

South Coast Simcha Band
Classic American Klezmer

E-mail South Coast Simcha Band

In recent years I have spent less and less time listening to the regular community klezmer bands that sparked my interest in Klezmer music decades ago. Some of it is saturation: there is a limit to how much even I have to say about the same music. Some of it is also a reflection of the fact that there is a wide and diverse Jewish music scene where I grew up, like most children of the '50s, with Israeli campfire songs and Arik Einstein (and I didn't get to Arik Einstein until I moved to Israel).

This recording by the South Coast Simcha Band is a very good excuse to do some basic simcha band listening again. The band is smooth, the drums wonderfully understated (if I were to suggest an improvement, it would be that the bass be moved back in the mix, as well), and the repertoire is a perfect example of why that wonderful American fusion of klezmer, Israeli dance tunes, Yiddish swing and jazz is still the best way I can think of to celebrate. The husband-wife team of Renah and Keith Wolzinger swap lead between trumpet and clarinet effortlessly.

True to form, and to what would happen at an actual simcha, the band includes some wonderful medleys, including a long "South Coast Hora", and that is where they shine, going from song to song with practiced ease. One can feel the dancers enjoying the changes and continuing to move joyously around the floor. Different from the metronomic thumpa thumpa of several current wedding bands, this band actually swings.

South Coast Simcha is an excellent band. They are only going to get better. This is the sort of recording that makes it easy to recommend them for all events. A real m'chaya!

Personnel this recording:
Renah Wolzinger: clarinet
Keith Wolzinger: trumpet, flugelhorn
Shohei Urata: alto sax, violin
David Gilman: tenor sax
Aaron Kern: keyboard
Lisa Chattler: mandolin
Alan Levin: bass
Steve Chattler: drums, percussion


  1. Odessa Bulgar 2:54
  2. Brooklyn Tradition 5:11
  3. South Coast Hora 14:04
  4. Kolomeike 2:29
  5. Freilach in D Minor 3:07
  6. Russian Sher Medley 4:10
  7. Der Gasn Nigun 3:35
  8. Friday Night Oneg 1:43
  9. Naftule's Tantz 2:04
  10. Miami Beach Nocturne 2:10
  11. Party in Philly 5:08
  12. Freilach in Swing 3:11

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