Andy Statman / Old Brooklyn

Album cover: nice map, blah type

Andy Statman
Old Brooklyn

2011, Shefa Records, HORN-3004/5

CD and MP3s available from

For a number of years I gave up going to see Andy Statman in concert. It's not that he wasn't great, but listening to brilliant noodling for an hour ceased to move me. Then, a few years ago, backed by Larry Eagle and Mark Rubin, I was reminded of why I became a fan of his music in the first place. Rubin and Statman explored everything from Bluegrass to Klezmer and places I never before known to visit with an intensity and depth that blew me away. It was the sort of concert that causes you to say a "She-hekhi-anu" for the privilege of having been given life and sustained and brought to a place where you were reminded of the miracle of creation.

That's what this new CD is like.

From the opening, "Old Brooklyn," the CD explores Andy's mandolin and clarinet, rocking back and forth between bluegrass (mostly) and klezmer, but rocking deeply. And, although Mark Rubin isn't on this session, Larry Eagle is, as are everyone from Béla Fleck, Byron Berline, Ricky Skaggs, and a host of others. This CD captures Statman the davenner, the musician who prays with his music, who wraps up the joy of creation and shares it with his listening audience. His duet with Ricky Skaggs, "The Lord will provide," as his clarinet davens in duet with Skaggs voice is a perfect example. Likewise, the clarinet again, solo this time, on "Life Cycles," expresses a mourning and acceptance that make me cry.

At the same time, this album isn't all solemn and prayer-ful. Along with some great klezmer tunes, there is the occasional pure rock 'n' roll digression, as in the Dick Dale influenced "Ocean Parkway After Dark" or "A Boppin' Crib" and the delightful stroll, "21st Century Chicken Shack Back Blues" There is also the more straightforward nign as the "Shabbos Nigun" with B´la Fleck. There is also the "only from Andy," as in his clarinet solo, accompanied by teakettle on hotplate, "Totally Steaming."

In the end, this is the most heartfelt Andy Statman CD in years, one that pulls together the many musical strands of his life and makes an unusually deep and hopeful statement about life and tradition. "Old Brooklyn" defines "Americana," and like the Klezmatics work over the last decade, reinforces that klezmer and Jewish music a living part of the genre. This will be on my active listening list for a long time. And for the first time in a long time, I can't wait to see him live (he and David Grisman kick off the Boston Jewish Music Festival on March 1, 2012).

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 17 Feb 2012

Personnel this recording:
Andy Statman: clarinets, mandolin
Jim Whitney: bass
Larry Eagle: drums, percussion
Byron Berline: fiddle
Jon Sholle: acoustic & electric guitars

Ricky Skaggs: vocal
Béla Fleck: banjo
Paul Shaffer: keyboards
Bruce Molsky: banjo, fiddle
Marty Rifkin: pedal steel
John Goodman: voice
Art Baron: trombone, euphonium, tuba
Lew Soloff: piccolo rumpet
Bob Jones: accoustic guitars
Kristin Mueller: surdo
The Statettes: clarinets

Song Titles

  1. Old Brooklyn (Statman) 5:53
  2. My Hollywood Girls (Statman) 3:00
  3. Pretty Little Gal (trad. from Jesse James Abbott; arr. Statman) 2:24
  4. The Lord will provide (words: John Newton; arr. Statman, Skaggs) 5:29
  5. Totally Steaming (Statman) 2:34
  6. Zhok Mahoney (Statman) 5:07
  7. Eitan and Zaidy (Statman) 5:37
  8. Since I met you baby (Ivory Joe Hunter) 4:35
  9. A brighter day (Statman) 3:08
  10. Life cycles (Statman) 4:41
  11. Sally Ann (trad.; arr. Statman) 3:04
  12. Y'all Come' (Arliegh Duff) 2:28
  1. Bourbon in Jackson Hole (Statman) 2:41
  2. A Boppin' Crib (Statman) 6:01
  3. Anthem (Statman) 2:20
  4. Waltz for mom (Statman) 2:40
  5. Ocean Parkway after dark (Statman) 3:45
  6. Shabbos Nigun (trad.; arr. Statman, Fleck) 4:52
  7. Mah Yedidus—How beloved is your rest (trad.; arr. Statman) 3:21
  8. Blues in 3 (Statman) 3:51
  9. The one in nine (Statman) 4:26
  10. On the King's highway (Statman) 2:33
  11. Uncle Mo (Statman) 3:45
  12. 21st century chicken shack back blues (trad.; arr. Statman) 5:565
  13. Long journey home (trad.; arr. Statman) 1:29

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