Joel Rubin with the Epstein Brothers Orchestra / Zeydes un Eyniklekh

nice picture of the band

Joel Rubin with the Epstein Brothers Orchestra
Zeydes un Eyniklekh
(Grandfathers and Grandsons)
Jewish-American Wedding Music from the Repertoire of Dave Tarras
1995 WERGO Schallplatten, 1995
Postfach 36 40, D-55026 Mainz, Germany

Damn this stuff is good. It isn't just Joel Rubin, it's the whole damn, smooth, silky, perfection of American Klezmer music. I say "American," of course, because of the oh so very American drum beat, but also because Dave Tarras created a genre of traditional Jewish music that was entirely, ultimately American.

As much as I love "today's" klez music, every so often you need to listen to the real thing. And these guys have that down beautifully. I don't mean that they have it down as though it is something stale that they've been playing for years, but rather, that this is "traditional" klezmer music played by people who live it. This is the Jewish equivalent of BB King and Buddy Guy and Junior Wells holding a summit. You'll be blown away by the "Hora and Doina," and in awe at the interplay instruments in the "Rumenisher Freylekhs."

This is real klez played as though the old stuff matters today. And whenever music is played this well, it does matter. Enjoy!

There is now a movie about the Epstein Brothers. And about time! It's called A Tickle in the Heart and was produced by Stefan Schwietert. The United States premiere will be at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, July 21, 1996. There will be two other showings during the festival (Berkeley, Aug. 1; Palo Alto Aug. 7). To get more information about the film, visit Joel Rubin's page on the film..

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 7/3/95

Personnel this recording:
Joel Rubin: C clarinet
Max Epstein: B-flat clarinet
Julius Epstein: drums and percussion
William Epstein: trumpet
Danny Rubinstein: tenor and alto sax, B-flat clarinet

on "Rumenisher Freylekhs"
Peter Sokolow: piano
Pat Merola: string bass


  1. No Name Sirba 3:31
  2. Mayn Eynikl (My Grandson) 4:17
  3. Baym Zeydns Tish (At Grandfather's Table) 4:54
  4. South Fallsburg 3:45
  5. Kale Bazetsn ("Seating" the Bride) 5:03
  6. Bukoviner Freylekhs 3:08
  7. Freylekher Sher 3:13
  8. Doina 5:40
  9. Baym Shotser Rebn (At the Rebbe's from Suceava) 4:44
  10. Freylekher Nushile 3:14
  11. Hora and Sirba 3:43
  12. Seymour's Bar Mitzvah 3:54
  13. A Khasene in Shtetl (A Wedding in Town) 4:35
  14. Lebedik un Freylekh (Lively and Merry) 5:06
  15. Brownie's Khasene (Brownie's Wedding) 3:26
  16. Rumenisher Freylekhs 1:55

Mazltov!: Jewish-American Wedding Music from the Repertoire of Dave Tarras for Clarinet (Bb or C) or other Melodic Instruments, Revised and edited by Joel Rubin
Schott (Mainz/London/Madrid/New York/Paris/Tokyo/Toronto) ISMN M-001-12146-0

Mazltov! contains detailed melodic transcriptions (with chords) from the acclaimed CD by Joel Rubin with the Epstein Brothers Orchestra (recipients of the 1998 National Heritage Fellowship): "Zeydes un Eyniklekh (Grandfathers and Grandsons). Jewish-American Wedding Music from the Repertoire of Dave Tarras" (Schott Wergo SM 1610-2). Also included in the publication is the first available detailed essay on ornamentation and other aspects of klezmer performance style (in English and German). While originally conceived for clarinet, the pieces can be adapted for any melody instrument and arranged for any instrumental combination. Mazltov! provides the best possible introduction to the music of the "King of Klezmer", Dave Tarras (1897-1989).

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