Review | Personnel | Songlist
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Madison, WI, is also home to "Jewbacca," about which these pages know nothing other than the name, and "Yid Vicious," a traditional, brassy band, whose "Klez, Kez, Goy mit Fez" CD was reviewed in 1998.
I am not a major fan of more traditional jazz, but I find this album strangely calming. Tastefully done. Unlike many fusion albums, the swinging back and forth between Jewish and jazz signatures is near-seamless and feels good. Some of the ease may be that this is clearly not a klezmer album. It is a jazz album with Jewish and Israeli motifs. This isn't wedding music, it's sit back and enjoy listening music. It's even cafe and wine music. I can live with that!
The album begins with a Jewish-sounding "Take Five," and continues with variety and rhythm from there. The opening chords of "Zemer Atik" make it clear that the song always wanted to be played this way, with exactly that piano signature. And, again, it is fascinating to feel how right it is to play a Dave Tarras hora fused to "Tennessee Waltz." I could go on in this vein all afternoon--Sephardic folk melodies tied to the traditional Ashkenazic "Eshes Chayil" and an MJQ piece (I do have my usual reservations about the "a good slave is hard to find" sensibility behind the concept of eshes chayil in Jewish tradition, but that belongs on other web pages, not here.), to the closing, pure jazz, "Sholom Aleichem."
There are several other groups that have attempted this type of jazz-klez fusion. Oomph Intercontinental is also quite good. Less successful (at least to my original listenings--now I'll have to go back and re-evaluate) were the Modern Klezmer Quartet ("Hora & Blue," Global Village CD156) and Klezmokum (eponymous, from BVHAAST, Holland.
Reviewed by Ari Davidow 9/29/95
Personnel, this recording
Abigail Cantor: clarinet, saxophone, recorder