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Rhythm + Jews

The Klezmatics

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Album Review

One of the great things about klezmer is the fact that while it is a product of Jewish musical traditions, it has also reflected the Jewish-American experience. When American Jews in Brooklyn and Queens were digging Artie Shaw's clarinet in the 1940s and '50s, you'd hear it in klezmer recordings. The Klezmatics' Rhythm & Jews is a lively, energetic date that reflects Jewish tastes in both "the old country" and in the U.S. While many of the songs are traditional (including "Di Sapozhkelekh," "Violina Doyna," and the Hasidic "Shnirele, Perele"), the Klezmatics provide arrangements of their own and — like jazz artists — aren't afraid to take liberties and do some interpreting. Jazz is an obvious influence on the Klezmatics, who have very spirited improvisers in clarinetist David Krakauer and trumpeter Frank London (who shows some Miles Davis influence on "Fun Tashlikh"). This disc boasts some consistently invigorating music, as well as an amusing title.

Biography

Formed: 1985 in New York City, NY

Genre: World

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The Klezmatics take one of the wildest approaches to klezmer, the traditional dance music of the Eastern European Jews. Although their music is heavily influenced by the recordings of Abe Ellstein and Dave Tarras in the 1940s and 1950s, their lyrics comment on a wide variety of political and social issues and have led the group to be labeled "the planet's radical Jewish roots band." The original members of the Klezmatics — Dave Lindsay (bass), Rob Chavez (clarinet), Alicia Svigals (fiddle)...
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Rhythm + Jews, The Klezmatics
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