Various Artists

Knitting on the Roof

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AllMusic Review by

Knitting on the Roof is a compilation of various klezmer, jazz, and rock bands covering songs from the musical Fiddler on the Roof. It's a great album for fans of the musicians present, as well as a fun introduction for new listeners with irreverent sensibilities. There are heartfelt renditions found in the mix, such as the beautiful and tender rendition of "Sabbath Prayer" contributed by pianist Uri Caine and singer Lorin Sklamberg, and David S. Ware's solo saxophone improvisation based on the melody of "Far From the Home I Love." Then there is the hilarious dance-remix treatment given "Tevye's Dream" by Negativland, and the Chadbourne brand of bluegrass of "Miracle of Miracles." The Residents' dark carousel take on "Matchmaker" features their patented vocal processing, which sounds like children's voices filtered through a fun-house mirror. Between these extremes are Hasidic New Wave, ripping it up with an electric rock guitar-led klezmer on "Wedding Celebration," and the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars' wailing version of "Tradition." Throughout are excellent, original versions of the musical's songs, and strong performances from all contributors.

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