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About David Krakauer

The Tonic is located at 107 Norfolk Street, between Delancey & Rivington, NYC, NY. Take the F train to Delancey Street station. (212) 358-7503. Web:

Also by Elliott Simon on the Klezmershack: Frank London's Klezmer Brass All-stars.

Elliott Simon's review of Brotherhood of Brass, Live

other klezmer articles on the Internet

[Note: This article was posted to the jewish-music mailing list by Elliott Simon on 11 Feb 2002. It is html-ized and made available here by permission. ari]

Klezmer Madness at the Tonic-1/27/02
reviewed by Elliott Simon

I try to get up to the Tonic on Norfolk Street in Lower Manhattan at least once a month to see some Klez. The Klezmer brunch on Sundays is the only place you can hear Klezmer on a scheduled basis in New York City. Although, over the last year, the quality of bands has been somewhat uneven, on this unseasonably warm Sunday in January I eagerly anticipated Klezmer Madness who were scheduled to do two sets. My daughter and her friend came down from Poughkeepsie for the show and I journeyed from outside Philadelphia.

We were not disappointed. Krakauer was clearly on and the band was tight. David Krakauer never seems to disappoint in concert, he is posessed by the spirits of Coltrane, Bechet and Brandwein and his circular breathing and clarinet pyrotechnics are unworldly. The punky atmosphere of the Tonic with its interesting crowd mix of 3 generations of Klez fans were hanging on every note.

Opening with the signature Klezdrix set the tone for a set that rocked. Nicky Parrott on bass was gorgeous as usual, as she switched from stand up to bass guitar and her shawl fell from her shoulder, the sweat flew from her face and she drove the band to heights that the small Tonic venue had not seen for awhile. Several new tunes bear special mention, "Another New Year," written post 911 is eerie with its New Year Shofar beginning and end, the clarinet doubles as Ram's horn and David chants the Hebrew. To experience this piece so close to Ground Zero was memorable. "Thirteen Tribes" showcases the bands jazz influence and is apparently featured on a CD that is only available in Europe. A new addition to the Klezmer Madness lineup is Sheryl Bailey on guitar. She is a fairly well known jazz guitarist in New York circles and she showcased her nimble fretwork on several tunes. Her work on an old piece for tsimble brought back the atmosphere of long gone Klez bands from the Lower East Side's past with a 21st century twist.

Apparently this set was a kick off for a US tour by the band. Although some traditionalists may be put off by some of the avant garde influenced klez that the band is into these days; they are worth seeing by anyone who appreciates professional Klezmer jazz playing.

Elliott Simon

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English translation copyright © 2002 Elliott Simon. All rights reserved.
This page is maintained by Ari Davidow. Send me E-mail with any comments or suggestions. All rights reserved. Last revised 11 June, 2007.