Klezmer, NY is a joy to listen to! Full of drama, fun and intensity, it is musical mastery, for certain. Klezmer Madness, led by accomplished clarinetist David Krakauer, weave an instrumental narrative of the imagined musical meeting between clarinet greats jazzman Sidney Bechet and klezmer king Naftule Brandwein. The opening track, "Alt(dot)klezmer," functions as title music, leading the audience into storytime mode with an irresistible funk klezmer groove. The action opens on a dark and stormy NYC (home to both of the legendary musicians for 15 years up through the late '40s) with a whipping wind of music and thunderous playing. Seeking shelter, the two end up in a Roumanian wine cellar (track three). By halfway through the tune, the music has bent to include the squeaking, off-echoes of a blisteringly drunk accordion. Distilled moments of this excellent and engrossing musical story include: animated clarinet conversations, arrangements insistent on making you dance, ghost arias, and flyingly fun scenes of a crowded hall where dance partners are spun and whipped around. The music zooms out from the story with a spaghetti western-tinged guitar and a death march drum, providing an appropriate cinematic close. Highly recommended for all who enjoy klezmer, klezmer jazz, or creative jazz in general.
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AllMusic Review by Joslyn Layne