Freylach Time! / The Klezmer Dance Band

Nicely stylized lettering and modern cutout figures Freylach Time!
The Klezmer Dance Band

6-34479 0972-2, 2003

available from

Now that klezmer is commonplace, I find myself avoiding traditional klezmer albums. I mean, been there, done that, got a shelf full of records and a head full of memories. On the other hand, every so often I encounter an album that reminds me of why I became such a fan of klezmer music. This is one of those albums. Riki Friedman's clarinet rips into the opening medley, and the band never falters. Mike McQuown's accordion, and Hal Schnee's bass lines turn the band into a "power klezmer" ensemble. To make the recording just a little more special, David Licht, of the Klezmatics sits in, reminding us that he wrote the book on modern klezmer drumming.

Part of what makes this particular recording special is the involvement of people the bandmembers met at their gigs. An otherwise retired Hy Marks makes "Sheyn Vi Di Levone" and "Bay Mir Bist Du Sheyn" swing with a vigor that makes them new and fresh. Similarly, clarinetist Jud Flato, who used to play with Naftule Brandwein, joins in on a couple of captivating and special numbers, including his own "Jud's Doyna and Bulgar", always propelled by excellent bass and Licht's impeccable drumming. The "Tarras Bulgar" features an interplay between both clarinets and the accordion that is near-perfect. The highlight of the album, though, is that final medley as we gradually realize that we're hearing an entire wedding party dancing, clapping, and cheering. This is, after all, a community album, capturing both the community's simkha band, along with the community.

As it happens, I am not a disinterested listener. I have known bandleader Friedman for two or three decades. I've been encouraging her to make this album for about a decade. (I wasn't alone!) Here is what I wrote for the back of the CD:

This CD is what happens when musicians who love the music and who play it well together make simkhes. It's the intensity of the live, closing medley as the family claps and dances to the music in a manner that we have come to associate with Chassidic gatherings. This is what happens when an old tradition, part of the binding music of Eastern European Jewish tradition, is revived and becomes again part of what binds a community together, in joy, today, in the here and now. This is what makes Freylach Time! special.

... The real stars of this CD are Freylach Time! and the community and music that they share together. The klezmer revival succeeded. If you want to hear how joyous music brings people together ... this is the CD you have been looking for. As the band's name says, "It's Freylach Time!" Enjoy.

Reviewed by Ari Davidow 2/1/04

Personnel this recording:
Riki Friedman: clarinets (B flat and C)
Mike McQuown: accordion
Hal Schnee: string bass

David Licht:
Jud Flato: clarinet (tracks 5, 11)
Hy Marks: vocal (track 3)


  1. S'iz Freylach Bay Yidn/Der Alert Tzigayner--The Jews are Happy/The Old Gypsy (trad.) 3:05
  2. Tsur Mishelo/Khosidls--from Grace after Meals/Hasidic Dances (trad.) 6?28
  3. Sheyn Vi Di Levonie/Bay Mir Bist Du Sheyn--You are as Beautiful as the Moon/You are Beautiful to Me (music: Rumshinsky; lyrics: Tauzberg/music:Shalom Secunda; lyrics: Jacob Jacobs) 3:31
  4. Sha, Sha, Di Shviger Kumt/Dem Trisker Reben's Khosidl--Shush, the Mother-in-Law is coming/The Disciple of the Rabbi from Trisk (trad.) 4:49
  5. Tarras's Bulgar (from the repertoire of Sid Beckerman) 3:07
  6. Der Heyser (Tartar Dance)--the Hot Tartar Dance (trad.) 3:12
  7. Mazel Tov Zelda (trad.) 4:00
  8. Araber Tantz (trad.) 3:05
  9. Tish Nigun (trad., arr. Pete Sokolow) 2:20
  10. Romanian Bulgarish/Unzer Toyrele--Romanian Bulgar (dance)/Our Dear Torah (trad.) 2:47
  11. Jud's Doyna and Bulgar (Jud Flato) 2:00
  12. Simkhes Toyre/De Mame iz Gegangen--Torah Celebration/Mother went to Market (trad.) 4:18
  13. Firn Di Mekhutonim Aheym--escorting the in-laws home (trad.) 4:47
  14. Ariel's Simkhe (wedding medley arranged by Freylach Time!) 6:37

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