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Jack Kessler brings out the Klingon in Brookline

latest Klingon Klezmer CDThere was a Shabbaton at my synagogue this past Shabbes with Rabbi Marcia Prager and her husband, Cantor Jack Kessler. Not being someone who davens best in a prayer session, I convinced Judy to come with me for Havdalah and a kickass concert by Jack, his son, and local musicians such as Dena Ressler.

I should mention that I really like Jack's cantorial and Middle Eastern CDs, but the real fun lies in the recordings by his simkha ensemble, the aptly named Klingon Klezmer. And at Temple Beth Zion, Jack managed to infuse a skilled group of pick-up musicians with the Klingon Klezmer fun in a short set that covered familiar repertoire in an unusually energetic and danceably entertaining manner. A delightful time was had by all.

And I am left wondering about the Philadelphia Jewish music scene. It isn't just the Klingons. It's Ken Ulansey's amazing band, and Benny & the Vilda Chayas and the Watts family women and Rachel Lemisch—and lest I forget, this is the town that gave us Hankus Netsky and Charlie Berg and Anthony Coleman and more. Some mighty interesting music happening there.

And while you wait for me to do an official review, you can take my word for it that the new Klingon Klezmer CD is as wonderful a mix of klezmer as done by people who may have taken more drugs than the rest of us during the Sixties, and/or listened to their rock music a bit louder, and who still haven't lost the sense of joy and the madcap fusion of styles that came out of that era. Still klezmer, but definitely not my bubbe's klezmer, for sure. Pick up a copy on CDBaby.com today.

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