Various Artists

The Rough Guide to Klezmer Revival

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This is an album that does pretty much what it promises, and highlights a number of the main players in the klezmer revival that's now been going on for a quarter of a century. So, along with the Klezmatics, who are committed to a new klezmer sound, there are acts like Budowitz and the Klezmer Conservatory Band, who looks back to more classical 19th century klezmer -- before it crossed the Atlantic and grew wild and jazzy in America. There's plenty of variety, like the mandolin of "Flatbush Waltz," but throughout there's a strong sense of Jewish identity and some superb playing (kudos to many clarinet players). A couple of omissions -- David Krakauer and Kroke -- stand out, and at times the compilation seems to be stretching a bit with major names in the field, although perhaps that's more an indication that it's a very small field. Still, for anyone interested in discovering klezmer, this is a fine place to begin.

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