Naftule's Dream: Live In Florence (2002)
You can learn who started the thing and who composes for it and all that from the liner notes. Concentrating on the music that results, it's basically a version of modern jazz's in-out combination. Parts of the music feature tunes you can sing along with, and other parts travel to heretofore unknown regions of outer jazzspace. When things get hot and heavy, it's interesting to see how Naftule's Dream combusts. (The accordion can scream just as piercingly as the clarinet, in case you were wondering.) These musicians obviously have spent some time together, because they are tight when it comes to playing in their ever-shifting pastiche of moods and colors. When things get quiet, you get to hear the lonesome cries of the tuba and the ethereal echoes of the guitar. All in context, all nakedly real. Often quite fun. Who can argue with the heavy funk groove on "Dirge Sirba," for example, whatever the icing on top?
Parts of this music sound arranged (the heads, mostly) but the rest has a very spontaneous feel. It's most definitely a live performance, have no doubt. Like any group of this size (a sextet), the combinations that emerge between different players and instruments are what make the music work. Funk here, a stomp there, a stark cry, quiet conversation, and whispers about silence. You can invent a category. Whatever it is, it's certainly only part klezmer.
(And for Naftule-philes, this fine live performance most definitely sits atop the heap, and we're not on Tzadik any more.)
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Track Listing: Free Klez, I-IV; Aimless Path; A Prayer for No One; Industrial Bulgar; Dirge Sirba; The Sitting Man; The Wanderer; A Friend of Kafka; Dischord.
Personnel: Glenn Dickson: clarinets; David Harris: trombone; Michael McLaughlin: accordion; Pete Fitzpatrick: electric guitar; James Gray: tuba; Eric Rosenthal: drums.
Record Label: Innova Recordings
Style: Modern Jazz