The Klezmer / Klezmer Juice


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L.A.-based Klezmer Juice are a quartet very much in the klezmer revival tradition, fronted by lyrical clarinetist Gustavo Bulgach. He's strong and fluid, as he needs to be, playing with plenty of soul and style on "Papirosn," for example. They delve back into the tradition for much of their material, which is refreshing, but there's never the sense of release on this CD that the best klezmer bands manage; you end up with the sense that they're deliberately holding back and restraining themselves. That's a shame, because they have the potential to be excellent, as the freewheeling "Freilach in D" shows. All too often the accordion and guitar provide supporting roles, rather than pushing to the fore as counters and other voices alongside the clarinet. It may just be because this is their debut, and they're not completely sure of themselves in the studio. Perhaps a live recording, with the musicians' sweat factor, would be better. Time will tell.

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