12 Songs, 47 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Although he’s sometimes stereotyped as a klezmer specialist, clarinetist David Krakauer has done a wide variety of projects—ranging from classical to jazz to hip-hop—since he left The Klezmatics after that band’s first three albums. Here he leads a frisky crew of downtown jazz and hard-to-classify folks through a set of songs from popular movies. The stated object is to celebrate the intertwined relationship of jazz and film music and hopefully spur some fond memories or even bring back ones buried in our subconscious. Some songs here are pretty recognizable: the wheeling version of “Willkomen” (from Cabaret), a zany take on “Tradition” (Fiddler on the Roof), the classical-leaning “The Family” (Avalon). Yet there’s a soft, moody, and nearly unrecognizable version of “People” (Funny Girl), the French café meets circus act of “Keep It Gay” (The Producers), and an incredibly powerful and slow-burning “La Vita E Bella” (Life Is Beautiful), which may be the best song here. This project succeeds as an artistic statement and functions as a wonderful stroll down memory lane for just about any movie buff.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Although he’s sometimes stereotyped as a klezmer specialist, clarinetist David Krakauer has done a wide variety of projects—ranging from classical to jazz to hip-hop—since he left The Klezmatics after that band’s first three albums. Here he leads a frisky crew of downtown jazz and hard-to-classify folks through a set of songs from popular movies. The stated object is to celebrate the intertwined relationship of jazz and film music and hopefully spur some fond memories or even bring back ones buried in our subconscious. Some songs here are pretty recognizable: the wheeling version of “Willkomen” (from Cabaret), a zany take on “Tradition” (Fiddler on the Roof), the classical-leaning “The Family” (Avalon). Yet there’s a soft, moody, and nearly unrecognizable version of “People” (Funny Girl), the French café meets circus act of “Keep It Gay” (The Producers), and an incredibly powerful and slow-burning “La Vita E Bella” (Life Is Beautiful), which may be the best song here. This project succeeds as an artistic statement and functions as a wonderful stroll down memory lane for just about any movie buff.

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About David Krakauer

Clarinetist David Krakauer is an accomplished performer and composer in classical music, jazz, and klezmer-based music. After completing his master's degree at Juilliard -- where he studied under Leon Russianoff -- Krakauer studied at Sarah Lawrence College and the Paris Conservatory. While in his early twenties, he had turned away from playing jazz to focus on his classical career. Krakauer went on to record for the Nonesuch, Xenophile, Eva, Opus One, and CRI labels. He has played with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, John Cage, the Kronos Quartet, and various other chamber music groups. Krakauer has performed many solo shows and given residency workshops through the Affiliate Artists program and the Concert Artists Guild. In the past, Krakauer has been a member of the clarinet and chamber music faculties of the Manhattan School of Music, the Mannes College of Music, and Queens College. He has composed works for NewBand, the AIDS Quilt Songbook, as well as his own solo performances. A concert of particular note was his solo performance of Luciano Berio's famously difficult clarinet Sequenza for an audience that included Berio himself. Krakauer also performed with Itzhak Perlman for klezmer's debut on David Letterman.

In the '80s, Krakauer began playing klezmer for the first time (although he was raised in a musical home, he didn't hear klezmer as a child); this got him back into improvising, and soon he was composing a freestyle klezmer that combined traditional forms with a variety of jazz (even funk) influences, and explored the possibilities of the clarinet. A member of the Klezmatics through their first three albums, Krakauer went on to lead Klezmer Madness which had two releases in the late '90s on the Tzadik label. ~ Joslyn Layne

Songs

Albums