Krakauer's Ancestral Groove: Checkpoint

Glenn Astarita By

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Track review of "Synagogue Wail"

Krakauer's Ancestral Groove: Checkpoint
Here, clarinetist David Krakauer derives influences from life's experiences and encounters, in alignment with his East European roots. And his Ancestral Groove outfit is once again up for the occasion. He's also revered for his important role in the New York City downtown scene amid stints and recordings for saxophonist, composer John Zorn's Tzadik records label. Krakauer's line of attack is often steeped in articulate formations of Klezmer, jazz and experimental processes. Indeed, he's a gifted technician and distinct stylist.

This album is largely fashioned by the clarinetist's soaring lines atop medium tempo grooves with turbulent soloing by guitarist Sheryl Bailey and solid contributions by the core band, featuring guest artists, guitarist Marc Ribot, keyboardist John Medeski and accordionist Rob Curto. But Krakauer's impassioned, singing and soaring vibrato lines regulate the intensity level, along with a few Hip-Hop style electronics treatments and pungent rock beats.

Krakauer's solo piece "Synagogue Wail," abounds with lucid imagery, instilling a sacred encounter, touched with a dash of reverb that may summon notions of a large synagogue, where each note projects spiritual overtones. Hence, the artist's crying and searching lines segue into circular flurries and dazzling fills, heightened by his complex amalgamating of the middle and upper registers. Krakauer's extended high notes are executed with the greatest of ease, as this piece also signals varying degrees of atonement or soul cleansing. It's a remarkable exposition that luminously complements the other group- centric performances.

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.


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).

Album information

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

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