Stewart Curtis' Klezmer Groove / Too Loud for Dinner

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Album cover: tough clarinet player across the alley from the gang and the local bagel shop. Stewart Curtis' Klezmer Groove
Too Loud for Dinner

MSPCD9503, 1995

Although occasionally formulaic, this UK klez CD is often good fun. Opening with a lively frailach turned slightly reggae, the album continues in a similar vein with danceable tunes of Jewish and other origins. The main body of music is more relaxing jazz than driving klez, but that's not entirely bad. Compared to what Shlock Rock has done to traditional rock melodies, this is easy on the ears and quite pleasant. The only other UK klezmer band with which I can compare is Gregoria Schechter's Klezmer Festival Band, which left me shrugging my shoulders--not painful, but nothing special. This is at least fresh and occasionally inventive.

The difference between this relaxed jazz/klez and traditional melodies is occasionally greater than might be expected. Anyone who has encountered Ofra Haza's powerful "Im'Nin'Alu" (attributed to Rabbi Shalom Shabazi) will have to spend a few minutes relating that to the more comfortable, jazz-dominated version here (attributed to Brown / Johnson / Benjamin). Yet, just as I am wondering the "klez-ness" of "What is this thing called love," my housemate interrupts to ask who is playing such beautiful music. Connect that to the snare backdrop and traditional frailach-ness underpinning "Havana Hip Hop" and what more could you want? Listen to them riff on "Tradition" and discover the hidden pleasures of the melody. Crank it up and party!

Reviewed by Ari Davidow 5/4/96

Personnel this recording:
Stewart Curtis: clarinet, tenor sax, flute, piccolo
Paul Jayasinha: trumpet, flugel horn, percussion
Mike Eaves: guitars (except on tracks 6, 10, 11, 12)
Rob Terry: keyboards, piano
Brad Lang: electric basses
Hans Ferrao: drums, percussion
Chris Batchelor: trumpet (tracks 2, 6, 7, 9)
Paul Gamblin: guitar (tracks 6, 7, 10, 11, 12)


  1. Reggae Frailach (trad., arr. Curtis) 5:16
  2. Lipstick on your Challah (trad., arr. Curtis) 5:38
  3. Im'Nin'Alu (brown/Johnson/Benjamin) 5:05
  4. Ode to a Morris Minor Van (trad., arr. Curtis) 4:24
  5. What is this thing called love? (Porter) 5:19
  6. Havana Hip Hop (trad., arr. Curtis) 7:24
  7. Bashana Haba Nah (Hirsch/Manor) 5:07
  8. Dance of the Satmars (trad., arr. Curtis) 4:37
  9. Groovin' back to Stoke Newington (trad., arr. Curtis) 2:12
  10. Too loud for dinner (trad., arr. Curtis) 5:43
  11. Tradition (Bock/Harnick) 4:41
  12. Hampton Court Frailach (trad., arr. Curtis) 3:47

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