Review | Personnel | Songlist/sound samples
For further info:
About Chicago Klezmer Ensemble
Band website: www.muziker.org/cke
CD rerelease of this album: Early Years, 1987 - 1989
The band also appears on the compilation
For bookings, CDs and other information:
Chicago Klezmer Ensemble
Available for $10+$3/s&h (US); $6/s&h (Europe), from:
From the opening chords of "Sha, sha, di shviger kumt," this is a straight-ahead, incredibly warm and deep traditional klezmer album such as you rarely hear. This is the sort of music that would have sounded familiar and good to Tarras or to Brandwein, and yet, feels perfect and right to modern ears.
I enjoyed the album much when I first got it, and recently, I have been rediscovering it. Then a friend and I got to talking at a recent Klezmatics gig (although the Klezmatics and the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble are both wonderful, they have little other than the genre and excellence in common) and he brought up this recording as one of his all-time favorites. Who would disagree? And, although Kurt Bjorling now also tours with Brave Old World, and Eva Monzingo managed to spend last summer blowing people away as part of Budapest's Di Naye Kaplye as a lark, this is still a band that I'd want to play at my wedding, and certainly a band that I'd travel a long distance to see.
How can I describe this better. By the time I discovered the band back in 1991, only cassettes were available, and it is always hard for me to be sure of song titles on cassettes, especially, as is the case here, the band flows from one song to another in the types of medleys that actually get played in simkhas. But regardless of what I am doing, I find myself suddenly becoming aware of the music, and my heart suddenly gladder, periodically. Is it in the "Freylekhs" part of "Yiddish Hora and Freylekhs"? Am I blown away by the "Terkisher" or is the band already on the "Romanian Hora"? I'm not sure any more. The entire cassette has become a joyous, uplifting, dance-compelling weave as its own, inviolate creation.
I do wish that someone had remembered to note song credits and song times on the cassette cover. The Chicago Klezmer Ensemble is clearly still in business: a recent (1996) recording was part of the compilation, Klezmer Music: A Marriage of Heaven and Earth, whence comes this Real Audio sound clip of the band playing "Mazl Tov".
Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 5/25/97
Personnel this recording:
Alan Goldsher: string bass (#4)
Pat Fleming: tenor mandolin (#6, #9)