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Naftule's Dream: Blood

Dan McClenaghan By

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Emerging from the ranks of the Boston area's Shirim Klezmer Orchestra, Naftule's Dream began with John Zorn's Tzadik Records when the label was young, offering up on the imprint Search for the Golden Dreydl (1997), Smash, Clap! (1998) and Job (2001). One thing about a large scale klezemer band—it offers up plenty of opportunity for madcap dervish dance shenanigans. Naftule's Blood, a pared down form of the genre—a sextet—loses none of that aspect.

Blood embraces klezmer rhythms and spiraling clarinet/cornet interplay, with a bass/guitar/accordion/drums/tuba foundation that gives an orchestral feel to the spirited music. With strains of an ambient sound approach—when they're not wailing—combined with a tuba-driven Oom Pah march, the band creates its own adventures tethered to Jewish musical roots that send shoots of meditative eastern elements juxtaposed with soaring melodies and hypnotic backdrops.

"Sitting In A Train Watching The Tuscan Landscape Go Speeding Backward" opens with Michael McLaughlin's pulsating accordion drone that is soon overlaid by Glenn Dickson and Neftule's Dream's clarinet engaged with Gary Bohan's cornet, backed by Jimmy Gray's substantial tuba bass lines. Drummer Eric Rosenthal injects tick tick of train wheels rolling on the rails. It's a group sound that achieves a certain Tuscan landscape majesty. The title tune opens on what sounds like a bass line lifted from the Beatles 1969 tune, "Come Together," before it weaves and wanders into boisterous, surging klezmer territory.

The group's overall sound has a grounding in the past—tuba and accordion—and a long-armed reach into modernity with their compositions, most written by leader, clarinetist Glenn Dickson, and accordionist Michael McLaughlin, with one from the pen of cornetist Gary Bohan. Stylistically they traverse a free jazz/rock attitude/ambient mood/klezmer geography, with whimsy, bellicosity, and abandon,versus ruminative restraint.

Track Listing: Sitting In Some Train Watching The Tuscan Landscape Go Speeding Backward; Blood; Aby Kirly the War Hero; Calabria; Boss Shabbos; Klez Spiritual; Chasing Ivo Livi; Turkisher; In Search Of Her Lullaby.

Personnel: Glenn Dickson: clarinet; Gary Bohan: cornet; Michael McLaughlin: accordion; Andrew Stern: guitar; Jim Grey: tuba; Eric rosenthal: drums.

Title: Blood | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Self Produced

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