The Art of Klezmer Clarinet
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As innovative groups like the Klezmatics and Brave Old World have reinvented the traditional klezmer sound for a new generation of fans, many went back to rediscover popular artists of the '20s and '30s, including Naftule Brandwein and Shloimke Beckerman. Margot Leverett, an early member of the Klezmatics, studied clarinet with Sid Beckerman, Shloimke Beckerman's son, and the 17 songs on her solo debut pay tribute to those celebrated masters of the genre. "Bulgar Melody" is a lively number that allows Leverett to cut loose, her high-pitched horn leaping and diving through a series of melodic runs as her nimble backing band oompahs along. "Firen di Mekhutonim Aheym" is a more stately number with Middle Eastern influences, capturing a magical sense of mysticism that offsets the more joyous, up-tempo numbers nicely. And on "Sid Medley," she pays loving tribute to her teacher with a medley of tunes taught to him by his legendary father. It won't revolutionize the genre, but The Art of Klezmer Clarinet is a tasteful testament to an ancient musical tradition that continues to reinvent itself.