Midwood / Out of the Narrows
Midwood / Out of the Narrows,
Chant Records, 2018
Download, streaming available from Bandcamp.
I have frequently mentioned violinist Jake Shulman-Ment on these pages with a certain degree of awe. His solo album, אַ רעדעלע / A Wheel, was brilliant, as was his Balkan band, Metrofolk. He's been an integral part of many local and international bands (including Daniel Kahn's Painted Bird). But, this newest release is the first klezmer album I am jump up in my seat blown away by in ages. He doesn't do it alone. Tzadik recording artist, guitarist Yoshie Fruchter, and Klezmatics drummer Richie Barshay, joined by vocalist Eléonore Weill, add critical dimensions of sound. Together they have created an outstanding recording.
I guess we start with Shulman-Ment's manic klezmer violin playing on the opening "Isaac," quickly joined by Fruchter's jagged guitar lines and Barshay's forceful drumming. You'll hear that versatility to different effect later on "Waltz." Then band moves into quieter, but still driven improvisation on "Isaac". The "Ahava Raba," on the other hand, is totally traditional (except for being penned by Mr. Shulman-Ment), and the yiddish "Dortn" or "Az in Droysn" likewise (except for not being penned by Mr. Shulman-Ment). Ms. Weill's vocals on the Yiddish make me hope that future recordings (and concerts, say to the Boston area!) will feature her more.
Mostly, as you can already sense, this is a traditional Brooklyn Jewish, mostly-instrumental album. Most often the music is traditional Jewish; sometimes traditional Brooklyn avant-garde or rock. Always, it is music that makes me glad to be alive, listening, and dancing. It is also a statement about making music worth hearing for this exact time and place, rather than recreating an earlier time and place.
More words would get in the way. The sounds are available online. Listen for yourself and then support the artists who made your heart sing by purchasing a copy.
Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 4 Jul 2018.
Personnel this recording:
Jake Shulman-Ment: violin
Yoshie Fruchter: electric guitar
Richie Barshay: drums, percussion
Eléonore Weill: vocals, flutes, hurdy-gurdy
- Isaac (Jake Shulman-Ment) 5:53
- Ansky (trad./arr. Midwood) 4:31
- Ahava Raba (Jake Shulman-Ment) 5:51
- Dortn (trad.) 3:23
- Bughici Nign (trad.) 3:40
- Bughici Khusidl (trad.) 3:23
- Waltz (Jake Shulman-Ment) 5:19
- Az in Droysn (trad./arr. Shulman-Ment) 5:15
- Gute Nakht (trad.) 4:19