Klezmer music traces back to the dance music played by itinerant Jewish music that traveled throughout Europe in the nineteenth century. The tradition is brought up to contemporary standards by Brave Old World, a group that includes members from California, Chicago, New York and Berlin. "The Washington Post' called Brave Old World "the revival's first supergroup. Every player is a virtuoso". "The Boston Globe" explained that Brave Old World "plays a klezmer music that is entirely grounded in the present, so intensely evolved from the music as it was, and, yet, so clearly, obviously, entirely klezmer that one could not seperate out many of the influences".
The original lineup of Brave Old World featured Joel Rubin on clarinet, Ben Bazyler on drums, Stu Brotman, a former member of 1960s' rock band, Kaleidescope and an ex-sideman for Canned Heat, Geoff and Maria Muldaur and Ry Cooder, on bass, cymablom, tilinka and percussion, Indiana-born and Berlin-based Alan Bern on keyboards and Michael Alpert, a founding member of Kapelye and a research associate at the YIVO Institute for Jewish research, on violin, accordion and vocals. Rubin was later replaced by Kurt Bjorling, musical director of the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble since 1984. In 1992, the group won first prize at the International Klezmer Festival in Sofed, Israel. In addition to their recordings, Brave Old World has been featured on two albums with violinist Itzhak Perlman. ~ Craig Harris