Klezmer Nova / Delicatessen
Phillips Music Group France 472 790-2, 2003
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From the opening, intense wall-of-klezmer "Fresser Freylekh," to the closing syncopated clapping that percusses "Transes", Klezmer Nova delivers an amazing, delicious meal of klezmer and jazz. Even the liner notes to this album are funny and fun and sparkle with life. The songs on this CD, are an extended tribute to Jewish food, like "Romania, Romania, but different! Here the music (excepting some slight scat singing) are mostly composed by band director Pierre Wekstein, and named after occupants of said delicatessen, or indeed, delicat essen. There is even dessert: "Bulbes" performed as a rap song.
Klezmer Nova are descended from the wonderfully-named "Orient Express Moving Shnorers." By now they have evolved into the true children of the Klezmorim--brassy, in-your-face, fun music. But this is a really well-done in-your-face music. Tight, not just loud. Played seriously, not for fun. And the fusion with jazz (and back to klezmer, as on "Di Mashke") is very well done.
I am a fan of tight, exciting brassy music, be it salsa, sousa, or klezmer. And I like the way even many slow pieces like "Shamltz Hering" wind up, to paraphrase something once written of the Kinks years ago, like "big, thumping klezmer." Those that don't move to utter pandemonium, such as the lovely scat on "Varnitshkes" are a nice contra. And sometimes, the switch back to klezmer is almost incidental, as in the exciting syncopation of "Latkes" or the slowed down stride of "Pickel Fleish Hora" which may be about pickles, but certainly isn't your grandmother's a hora. I think that is part of the charm--klezmer and jazz are mixed up as fits the song. This isn't an attempt to "jazzify" klezmer or the reverse. Instead it's what happens when musicians familiar with two idioms get together and play what they hear in their heads.
In the end, klezmer nova proves itself to be, indeed, superior nova. The CD has a lox on my ears. It's easily my favorite French klezmer album, but what else could I expect? Without deli and felafel, what would Rue des Juifs or Rue des Rosier be? Certainly not in Paris. And we wouldn't have this album, which would be truly disappointing. Ess, ess, enjoy!
Reviewed by Ari Davidow 8/2/03
Personnel this recording:
Claude Brisset: electric bass
Philippe Dallais: drums
Guillaume Humery: clarinet, bass clarinet
Olivier Hutman: acoustic piano, Fedner Rhodes
Matthias Mahler: trombone
Yann Martin: trumpet, bugle
Michael Nick: violin
Pierre Wekstein: saxophones, musical director
- Fresser Freylekh (P. Wekstein) 3:34
- Prashninklekh (P. Wekstein) 3:51
- Di Mashke (trad., arr. P. Wekstein) 6:04
- Shmaltz Hering (P. Wekstein) 3:56
- Tsibeles (P. Wekstein) 5:38
- Latkes (P. Wekstein) 4:40
- Pickel Fleish Hora (P. Wekstein) 2:59
- Tsimes Mazurka (P. Wekstein) 5:18
- Varnintshkes (trad., arr. P. Wekstein) 3:18
- Kreplekh Rhapsodie (O. Hutman) 2:49
- Mlinshkes (P. Wekstein) 4:41
- Klops Dance (P. Wekstein) 3:15
- Transes (P. Wekstein) 2:55