One of the earliest examples of the klezmer revival which would burst into full flower in the late '80s, the Klezmorim's Metropolis is also one of the very best. More than many of the subsequent bands that tended to inflect the music with a touch of irony, this San Francisco-based group revels in the sheer joy and touching sadness of klezmer. The arrangements are tight, the instrumentation imaginatively deployed, and the playing is exuberant. From the hallucinatory reels of the soprano sax/clarinet front line of "Bucharest" to the doleful low horn lead of "The Tuba Doina," the group hits the exact mark between the playful and the serious. Fans of the New York City klezmer scene, nurtured by John Zorn and others, will greatly enjoy the freshness and verve of this recording and may also appreciate the lack of postmodern references. No compositional credits are given, so one assumes the pieces are essentially traditional ones, though rearranged (and possibly re-titled) by the band. For listeners seeking a first exposure to the genre, it's difficult to think of a better starting place.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick