The Sy Kushner Jewish Music Ensemble / KlezSqueeze!

Suburban NJ CD style

The Sy Kushner Jewish Music Ensemble / KlezSqueeze!
Bon Air Recordings, 1996

Available from Nulite Music Inc.

The publicity material for this album notes that Kushner was a big hit with the Chassidic circuit back in the '60s. That was not only before my time, but an entirely different variety of Jewish dance music. And, today, Kushner plays a solid, rich form of klezmer that is a pleasure to the ears.

For me, this album harks back to something that came ten years after Kushner's history recordings: the first Andy Statman recording, with Zev Feldman and tsimbl and Marty Confurius on bass. Fast forward to this year, when Kushner puts together an ensemble using instrumentation that is, coincidentally, similar to that used by Statman yars ago, even to the point of using Marty Confurius on bass. Kushner's authority, clarity, and grace on the accordion make this new album very special. He also features Russian immigrant Alexander Fedoriouk on tsimbl. And, for times when the heart wants something more powerful, Kapelye veteran Ken Maltz steps in on clarinet.

I was prejudiced towards liking this album just from seeing Kushner jam at the recent KlezCamp. But the formal setting here is even better. These are the definitive versions of a host of traditional klezmer tunes. This is the sort of CD you listen to over and over, not just for pleasure, but to learn from it. The way Kushner plays, you feel as though you can tell exactly what is happening.

That isn't to say that this album is necessarily staid. Some of these tunes are "only in America." Witness the lovely patriotic quotes in the "Philadelphia Sher" as both tsimbl and accordion trade back and forth. But what matters is that this is a wonderful additional to any collection of klezmer, a vital CD for any dance collection, and beyond substitute for the student of klezmer. Enjoy!

Reviewed by Ari Davidow, 2/19/97. (Revised to work around some search engine oddities, 1/7/98)

Personnel, this recording
Sy Kushner: accordion
Martin Confurius: string bass
Alexander Fedoriouk: tsimbl

Ken Maltz: clarinet (tracks 6, 11)


  1. Sadegurer Khusedl 3:09
  2. Drohobitsher Khusid 4:11
  3. Der Heisser-Tartar Dance 3:09
  4. The Philadelphia Sher 6:15
  5. Lustige Khasidm 5:19
  6. Shulem's Bulgarish 3:46
  7. Odessa-Bulgar 2:09
  8. Di Rayze Nukh Amerike 3:16
  9. Fun Tashlikh 2:34
  10. Dovid'l Bazetst Di Kale 4:05
  11. Tants a Freilach 2:32
  12. Baym Shotzer Rebbe Oyf Shabes 3:09
  13. Naftule Shpilt Far Dem Rebn 4:58
  14. Nor Gelebt, Nor Gelakht 4:33
  15. Zeyde's Tants 2:23
  16. Russian Sher 3:21

to top of page To top of page

the KlezmerShack Ari's home page
to About the Jewish-music mailing list
to The Klezmer Shack main page
to Ari Davidow's home page