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That Pre-Chanukah Review Crunch

I've been working a bit harder to get as many reviews out as possible before Chanukah. Of course, in our house, we celebrate Chanukah by lighting candles, playing dreidel, and making lots and lots of latkes. We're not into the commercial gift thing that has overtaken the solstice holidays. But I suspect that we are unusual in this regard:

album coverSteven Greenman has grown as a violinist with astonishing speed. It is less than a decade since I met him at a live recording of the Flying Bulgars. In the intervening years, he has played in several international folk ensembles, including Budowitz, Harmonia, and most importantly, Khevrisa. Now, he has composed a two-CD set of old-world-style klezmer that firmly revives that style and shows how varied and exciting it can be. Stempenyu's Dream is very special.

album coverFrench clarinetist Claudine Movsessian has been involved in Jewish music (and in world folk music) for at least a decade. In her latest CD, she creates a fusion of Jewish and world folk traditions that is unique and intriguing. Check out Claudine Movsessian / Ames Sonores Multiples: Musìque Klezmer and see what I mean.

album coverI think that I had Kleztraphobix confused with Klezmerfest, a different New York Klezmer band. Now that I've heard their new CD, I think I've got it straight. This is a wonderfully tight, really exciting edgy New York klezmer band, sticking to tradition and ranging from nign to klezmer to yeshivish. Damn, they're tight. Exciting, too. You may need Another bottle of vodka just to keep up :-).

album coverI got dissed last week for not reviewing enough "new" klezmer bands. I have gotten some exciting new bands in this week's listing, but I should feel guilty about spending so much time listening to Shirim's second new release this fall, Pincus and the Pig. But it has been years since Shirim released a new album. Besides, it's almost Chanukah and your kids will love this. What's Chanukah without a wonderful new kids album?

album coverSpeaking of new music, here is the first Klezmershack review of one of Craig Taubman's "Celebrate" series of Jewish compilations. Granted, this is neither typical of the Klezmershack nor the "Celebrate" series, but it is a very interesting compilation of new music called Celebrate Hip Hop. The bands come from around the world, if principally the US, Israel, the UK, and one Russian band. Some of the music is interesting as hip hop. Some is interesting as Jewish music. Some, both. All of it is interesting. This is the place to check out a genre that is new to most people of my generation.

album coverFinally, I end my Thanksgiving break doing what I feel I do best, Celebrate Klezmer. This CD was curated by Lorin Sklamberg and Frank London, both of the Klezmatics and dozens of other projects. If I say that this is the most diverse collection of excellent, mostly new traditional klezmer, need I say more? Also, speakig of new musicians, this is the first recording by Dobe Ressler, whose "di bostoner klezmer" CD should be out for KlezKamp. There is also an old Dave Tarras cut from the YIVO archives (that may be the Sklamberg touch, since Lorin's day job is in the YIVO sound archives, I think). Enjoy.

As usual, if you think this batch was special, wait until you see what's coming next.

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