Various Artists

Klezmer Music: A Marriage of Heaven & Earth

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This CD and book combo from Ellipsis Arts' Musical Expeditions series demonstrates the width and breadth of klezmer with traditional and experimental approaches to Yiddish music by contemporary groups (no historical material is included). On the traditional side are Alicia Svigals' street-music violin piece "Gasn Nign," and the Chicago Klezmer Ensemble's chamber-music pickling of the congratulatory ditty "Mazel Tov," and a bracing Gypsy klezmer standard by Hungarian group Di Naye Kapelye. On the experimental side are jazz-inflected pieces by Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Brave Old World, and Naftule's Dream, plus a slice of heavenly music by veteran clarinet player Andy Statman, who ventures into John Coltrane territory with "Dreykus Nign." But watch out for a track-numbering mistake which renders the book portion of the package meaningless unless you pay close attention to what you're hearing. Too bad a little more care wasn't taken in the notes to this solid demonstration of klezmer diversity.

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