One of the great things about klezmer is the fact that while it is a product of Jewish musical traditions, it has also reflected the Jewish-American experience. When American Jews in Brooklyn and Queens were digging Artie Shaw's clarinet in the 1940s and '50s, you'd hear it in klezmer recordings. The Klezmatics' Rhythm & Jews is a lively, energetic date that reflects Jewish tastes in both "the old country" and in the U.S. While many of the songs are traditional (including "Di Sapozhkelekh," "Violina Doyna," and the Hasidic "Shnirele, Perele"), the Klezmatics provide arrangements of their own and -- like jazz artists -- aren't afraid to take liberties and do some interpreting. Jazz is an obvious influence on the Klezmatics, who have very spirited improvisers in clarinetist David Krakauer and trumpeter Frank London (who shows some Miles Davis influence on "Fun Tashlikh"). This disc boasts some consistently invigorating music, as well as an amusing title.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson