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"A Great Day on Eldridge Street" begins

Drummer Charlie Berg, the original drummer of the Klezmer Conservatory Band, writes to remind me that a new Yale Strom project has begun:

a great day in harlem; photo by Art KaneJust got back from the Great Day at Eldridge St. photo shot. It was a hoot! There must have been 120 klezmorim there, from youngbloods like Annette Ezekiel (who grew up in Lexington MA, where I now live...and she formed the band Golem with a high school friend, just as Hankus & I were high school friends … what goes around ….) all the way up to Ray Muziker & beyond. I felt like Baby Dodds at this event … one of the REAL old-timers, lost in the fog of time :-) ! There must have been almost as many media folks, too—photogs, videogs, interviewers for radio, etc.

I got to see various old friends & bandmates—Don, Matt Darriau, Frank, Grant, Eve Sicular, Judy—and made some new ones as well. Aaron Alexander told me he uses my klezmer drumming article for teaching classes—props to you for getting me to write it.

I had studied the Kane photo the night before, and noticed a gaggle of drummers on the left side of the picture—JC Heard, Jo Jones, Sonny Greer, George Wettling, and Gene Krupa are all standing together. So, I got together Aaron Alexander, Dave Licht, Grant Smith, Eve Sicular, and myself, and you'll find us in the same position—a tribute to Papa Jo, Sonny, and all those other wonderful cats who came before us.

There are two concerts still to come in this tribute to a wonderful Jewish music scene, and a thriving Yiddish culture in NYC. Tonight, there is a free concert at NYU. Tomorrow night there is a paid concert at Symphony Space which includes Theo Bikel. Check out the KlezmerShack calendar for information on a short tour to upstate NY following.