Various Artists

Klezmania: Klezmer for the New Millenium

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This album showcases the new directions that klezmer is taking in the new millennium. There are fusions of music here that one wouldn't expect to hear ever but somehow work for the most part. The disc starts out with a piece from Boiled in Lead which is more or less traditional klezmer in its structure, but makes use of electric guitars in place of clarinets and violins. This is a signal that it's not your grandfather's klezmer that you're about to hear. A slow, stuttering semi-traditional work follows, to be broken again by the Klezmatics and their faster, more avant-garde breed of klezmer. Jazz giant Don Byron follows with his own take on the genre (one of the examples here of an outsider embracing the music). A cover of a 1923 recording then takes place courtesy of the German Aufwind. Worldbeat makes an appearance with the Paradox Trio, and earlier recordings from legend Abe Schwartz are sampled by Nathanson and Coleman. Klezmatic and Hasidic New Wave alum Frank London provides a number from the score to Shvitz. Kapelye contributes a piece that could very well have been directly from the swing era, and the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars follow suit with a modern take on klezmer altogether. The New Klezmer Trio slips in a performance of a bass-groove focused klezmer quietly. This disc is ended by a pair of misfits which work relatively well, given the distance between their incorporated genres. The Godchildren of Soul combine with the Klezmatics to produce a fusion of klezmer, funk, and hip-hop. Finally, Twistin' the Freylakhs provides a fusion of klezmer and surf-rock to finish off the disc, replacing the Russian balailaika from the original composition with a Fender guitar. For a wonderful look into the directions of contemporary klezmer, give this disc a try. Not all of the experiments work as well as one might hope, but the experiments are perhaps important nonetheless. It's also a good listen for most of the time.

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