The Alexandria Kleztet / Delusions of Klezmer

Decent wide-angle b/w of the band with reasonably nice type. see, it is not so hard to look decent! Alexandria Kleztet
Delusions of Klezmer,
Kleztet CD 2, 2002

P.O. Box 32615, Baltimore, MD 21282

I have long been partial to the Alexandria Klezmer Quartet, and before that, Seth Kibel's work in Cayuga Klezmer Revival. This new release, even better than their first, amply demonstrates why. From the humor and skill of the opening "Frailach Medley," or Tarras' "Bulgar in Bb" through the rock-informed (but very klez-ish) "Duncan's Disturbance" or "Cry of the Wild Lucy" (complete with Armenian-American surf guitar riffs!) through reworkings of familiar synagogue and Israeli tunes ("Eli, Eli," "Dodi Li," "Y'did Nefesh") the band exudes excellent musicianship and a joy of klezmer that are exactly what one hopes for not only at a simcha, but when listening to the music in the comfort of one's home. Eschewing the bar mitzvah beat (I especially appreciate the understated percussion, and the delightful electric bass lines--something I may never have written before), the band manages to make klezmer swing, and to fit all of the music that is modern American Jewish. The result is so delightful. The American rock/pop influence on "Pepper's Dirge" is unmistakable, yet tastefully "dance-dik" with a lovely jazzy doina in the middle. Some items, such as "Friday night at Elmo's" or "Winky" tread a fine line between saccharine and something better, as does "Od lo ahavti dai" (done so perfectly by the Australian band, Klezmania, on "Oystalia" as "Nyet Nyet"). On the other hand, "Untitled" and "Delusions of Klezmer" slip into a classical mode that is equally delightful (and not at all sweet). I am grateful for the music and for the attempts, for the ways in which Jewish music is stretched and renewed so successfully. That they largely succeed is a plus.

I am going to be very sorry to shelve this album after reviewing it. Indeed, it would have been reviewed months ago, but I have a hard time sitting still to write, when I could be kick-back listening, or dancing around the room. Of course, by now, Seth Kibel should have a new CD almost ready for release, so there is more to look forward to.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow 2/22/03

Personnel this recording:
Seth Kibel: clarinet, flute, soprano recorder, piano (tracks 6, 9, 18)
Claire Cardon: violin
Scott Harlan: fretted and fretless basses, keyboard (track 16)
Tim Jarvis: drums, dumbek, cabasa, tar, tamtam, riq, morrocan clay drums, siren, temple blocks, zils, bells, melodica

Additional musicians:
Joel Cardon: cello (tracks 6, 10)
Helen Hausmann: violin (track 10)
Susan Jones: viola (track 10)
Bruce Katsu: electric guitar (tracks 4, 7, 11, 13, 17)
Sean Lane: piano (track 17)
Danny Morris: electric guitar (track 14)


  1. Frailach Medley (trad., Beckerman) 6:10
  2. Baym Rebin in Palestina (trad.) 4:04
  3. Duncan's Disturbance (Kibel) 3:17
  4. Y'Did Nefesh (Zweig) 2:51
  5. Dodi Li (Chen) 3:22
  6. Friday Night at Elmo's (Kibel) 2:42
  7. Od Lo Ahavti Dai (Shemer) 2:33
  8. Eli, Eli (trad.) 3:59
  9. Untitled (Kibel) 2:42
  10. Delusions of Klezmer (Kibel) 4:01
  11. Pepper's Dirge (Kibel) 5:42
  12. Bulgar in Bb (Tarras) 2:57
  13. Winky (Kibel) 4:51
  14. Cry of the Wild Lucy (Kibel) 5:15
  15. Shikt a Tiket / New Yorker Trern (trad./Altman) 3:42
  16. Which Way Did He Go, George? (Harlan) 2:47
  17. Miki Loves Mambo (Kibel) 3:36
  18. Emma's Tune (Kibel) 3:11

to top of page To top of page

the KlezmerShack Ari's home page
to About the Jewish-music mailing list
to The Klezmer Shack main page
to Ari Davidow's home page