Klezmerfest / Party Music
From the opening "Wedding Dance," to the jazzy swing of "Chuppah Tantz/Tantz Yiddelach", this is tight, professional, joyous American klezmer. This isn't a fusion album, or an album of new Jewish music. It's solid, delightful, entirely danceable klezmer music as it has been played for generations, by musicians who are very, very good at playing it. It's perfect pick-me-up feel good music, great for sharing with friends. As they say on the album cover, this is party music; simply wonderful party music.
This album is so good, and so well-thought out and played, that it makes a perfect introduction to people who don't know klezmer (or who you wish to like klezmer). That also means that there isn't much to say about the music itself that hasn't been said thousands of times before, except for the fact that it is seldom played so well, and in such a manner as to invite dancing and celebration.
Particularly notable, of course, is Greg Wall on clarinet playing something almost night-and-day different from his other band, co-founded with Klezmatics trumpeter Frank London, Hasidic New Wave. But what makes the album special is the way all of the solo intsruments fit together--Walls' clarinet, Jordan Hirsch's trumpet, and Zev Zions on accordion. The practiced ease with which the band members work with each other is its own pleasure - whether it's the interplay on the set pieces, as in one of the dance sets "Doyne, Zhok, Freylach," or the clarinet and trumpet trading lines while the entire band does the "yay yays" of "Bim, Bam, Bim". The rhythm section, especially as anchored by drummer Aaron Alexander and bassist Brian Glassman, is delightfully tight and propulsive.
If I have any complaint, it lies in the lack of song credits. Some items are clear, as in the "Musiker Medley" (representing a sound, smooth as silk, that, like the "Bb Sirba", continues to be performed by surviving members of the Epstein Brothers band and friends). And most, if not all of these tunes are traditional and traditionally arranged. But "traditional" means, "as first recorded by", and it is always nice to have those credits.
Mostly, though, this album is simply a delight. Many are the medleys as the band puts traditional tunes in a simkha context. Like I said, the sound is smooth as silk and the feet can't stop moving. For a change, here is a band guilty only of absolute truth in advertising: This is perfect "Party Music". Enjoy!
Reviewed by Ari Davidow 8/2/03
Personnel this recording:
Greg Wall: clarinet
Jordan Hirsch: trumpet
Zev Zions: accordion
Brian Glassman: bass
Aaron Alexander: drums
- Wedding Dance 3:05
- Rusishe Sher/Baym Rebens Sudeh 5:24
- Der Heyser Tartar 2:54
- Doyne, Zhok, Freylach 6:34
- Bim, Bam, Bim 3:28
- Naftule 2:49
- Chuppah Tantz/Tantz Yiddelach 5:23
- Bb Sirba 3:20
- Der Nicer Bulgar 3:15
- Musiker Medley 6:46
- Odessa Bulgar/Varshaver Freylach 4:02