Don Byron

Plays the Music of Mickey Katz

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

No one recognized the manic possibilities of klezmer more than clarinetist Mickey Katz, whose 1945-1947 tenure with Spike Jones spawned a comedy band that launched such funny travesties as the Yiddish cowpoke ditty "Haim Afen Range" or the Jewish-Hawaiian "Mechaye War Chant." Katz used humor to expand the musical boundaries of klezmer, thrusting it into the laps of World War II mainstream America at a time when Yiddish was identified as a victim's language and most Jewish music looked backward in time because the post-Holocaust present was intolerable. Playing Katz's songs demands prodigious chops, hence the attraction of Katz to molecule-splitting clarinetist Don Byron, who demonstrates nerve presenting Katz the monologist as the equal of Katz the composer. In sum, convoluted, kaleidoscopic silliness topped with Byron's usual dazzling self.

blue highlight denotes track pick