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Album Review

There's a joy about klezmer music, especially of the more traditional sort; it seethes with life. And Holland's Ot Azoj grasps life quite firmly on this live recording. Even the slower pieces have a vibrant heartbeat, and beneath the minor-key melodies there's a smile, and a willingness to dance. Unlike so many of their contemporaries, who make the music into something contemporary, their lineup, with a tuba as bass, harks back to the early part of the 20th century, the heyday of klezmer, with accordion, sax, and fiddle weaving some remarkable steps around each other in the music, as on "7.40 AM/Broiges Tanz/Freilach Fun Der Chupe," or the carefree abandon of "Transylvanischer Hora." They're also more than happy to let pieces stretch out, like the nine minutes and 31 seconds that make up "Der Terkishe Shoch'n." Few can make every note of a performance into a celebration, but Ot Azoj has mastered that art — and along the way the band plays some wonderful, irresistible music that recalls the time when both Europe and New York's Lower East Side reverberated to the sound of klezmer. Wonderful stuff indeed.


Formed: 1994 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Genre: World

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Ot Azoj Klezmerband is a skilled group that formed in Amsterdam in 1994 and have performed and recorded klezmer music since. The band has released albums on the Oreade Music label including the Heart of Klezmer in 1999, and a live album in 2001. Members of Ot Azoj as of the latter releases are violinist Joris van Beek, saxophonist Karin Kranenborg, clarinetist Tjalling Smittenberg, accordion...
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Live, Ot Azoj Klezmerband
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