Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

5

Krakauer's Ancestral Groove: Checkpoint

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
Clarinetist David Krakauer has been exploring his Eastern European Jewish background through music for the past quarter century. He's managed to touch on his roots in varied ways during that time, tapping into Jewish history with some help from the Kronos Quartet on The Dreams And Prayers Of Isaac The Blind (Nonesuch, 1997), finding common ground for the work of the great Sidney Bechet and klezmer clarinetist Naftule Brandwein on Klezmer, NY (Tzadik, 1998), interpreting the music of John Zorn's Masada on Pruflas: The Book Of Angels, Volume 18 (Tzadik, 2012), and bringing tradition and unconventional thought into the same room with Klezmer Madness. Each one of those projects, in essence, is a branch growing from the same tree, and the same can certainly be said for this one.

In recalling his lineage-tracing Eastern European travel experiences in the late '80s, Krakauer notes the extreme contrast between the bleakness of border checkpoints and the warmth and energy of the people he met once he passed through them. Those encounters helped him to tap into the heartbeat of his ancestors and to understand where he really comes from, ultimately informing the music that appears here.

Checkpoint, as with many of Krakauer's albums, uses incongruity to its advantage. Ancestral Groove takes seemingly disparate ideas and manages to use them as stabilizing forces that balance each other out. Hebraic strains are set off against samples and beats, zany thoughts meet with relatively fixed elements, and joy and sadness allay one another in fascinating ways. The core musicians add to the architectural designs and strengthen the music with their respective gifts. Drummer Michael Sarin, bassist Jerome Harris, and sampler whiz Jeremy Flower (a.k.a. Keepalive) form the rhythmic chassis that carries everything along; guitarist Sheryl Bailey solos with glee, colors the middle ground, and adds some searing heat; and Krakauer works magic over all of it, bringing his distinctive voice to the fore.

There are worlds of contrast to be found in the interactions between those musicians, but Krakauer isn't averse to further shaking things up. Added variety comes with the addition of a gripping solo clarinet performance ("Synagogue Wail"), a live number recorded at The Stone in New York City ("Tandal"), and one-off guest appearances from organist John Medeski ("Tribe Number Thirteen"), guitarist Marc Ribot ("Elijah Walks In"), and accordionist Rob Curto ("Border Town Pinball Machine"). Checkpoint, on the whole, proves to be an audacious and addictive blend of past and present. When it comes to feeding new art with genealogy and experience, David Krakauer is really in a class by himself.

Track Listing: Kickin' It For You; Krakowsky Boulevard; Tribe Number Thirteen; Checkpoint Lounge; Elijah Walks In; Moldavian Voyage; Synagogue Wail; Border Town Pinball Machine; Tandal; Tribe Number Thirteen.

Personnel: David Krakauer: clarinet; Sheryl Bailey: electric guitar; Jerome Harris: electric bass; Michael Sarin: drums; Jeremy Flower (a.k.a. Keepalive): sampler; Rob Curto: accordion (8); John Medeski: organ (3); Marc Ribot: electric guitar (5).

Title: Checkpoint | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Table Pounding Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Album Reviews
Bailey's Bundles
Album Reviews
Read more articles
The Big Picture

The Big Picture

Label Bleu
2016

buy
Checkpoint

Checkpoint

Table Pounding Records
2016

buy
The Big Picture Featuring David Krakauer

The Big Picture...

Table Pounding Records
2014

buy
 

Best Of

Cristal Records
2013

buy

Upcoming Shows

Date Detail Price
Apr15Mon
David Krakauer
Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage at Carnegie Hall
New York, NY

Shop

Start your shopping here and you'll support All About Jazz in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Runner in the Rain Album Reviews
Runner in the Rain
By Jack Bowers
January 22, 2019
Read Driftglass Album Reviews
Driftglass
By Chris May
January 22, 2019
Read Pure Magic Album Reviews
Pure Magic
By Mark Sullivan
January 22, 2019
Read Vera Album Reviews
Vera
By Jerome Wilson
January 22, 2019
Read Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz Album Reviews
Kresten Osgood Quintet Plays Jazz
By Dan McClenaghan
January 21, 2019
Read The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two Album Reviews
The Poetry of Jazz Volume Two
By Victor L. Schermer
January 21, 2019
Read Mesophase Album Reviews
Mesophase
By Glenn Astarita
January 21, 2019