Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for readers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

369

Elaine Hoffman Watts: I Remember Klezmer: The Art of Klezmer Drumming

Elliott Simon By

Sign in to view read count
Most musicians who continue to redefine klezmer don’t really remember it, however legendary drummer Elaine Hoffman Watts, as her new CD proclaims, certainly does. The klezmer she remembers, and that serves as her inspiration, is the Philadelphia sound defined by her father and accomplished xylophonist/percussionist Jacob Hoffman of “Jakie Jazz ‘Em Up” fame. A “true” klezmer dynasty, new versions of heretofore unrecorded songs from Elaine’s grandfather, cornetist and bandleader Joseph Hoffman, are also presented in a fresh style that stays true to its roots. I Remember Klezmer: The Art of Klezmer Drumming highlights Elaine Hoffman Watts’ signature drumming style and continues the Hoffman legacy by featuring the exquisite Manny Klein/Chet Baker trumpet stylings of her daughter Susan.

Trilling trumpet and authentic rhythms delight on cuts such as “Freilach 21,” “Lakeleh” and “Freilach,” while the band’s full sound and perfect grasp of this klezmer genre are heard on the traditional “Chasidishe” and “Bagopolier” freilachs, the latter of which finds a ragtime breather before plunging ahead in perfect step. Classically trained and heiress to her own klezmer dynasty, trombonist Rachael Lemisch is a standout throughout and expertly takes the lead on the wonderful “Shtetl Ias.”

Do not expect a re-hashed note for note presentation of old 78s. Each song is fresh and reflects Susan’s creative approach as accordionist Kat Flagg and tubaists Travis Johnson and Jay Krush meld snugly with drummer Elaine’s beats. “I’ll Just Keep Going Rhumba” transports us through a dub-like sampled time warp to meet Jacob’s xylophone, setting the stage for a journey that is nostalgic yet now.

Trumpet master Frank London and fellow NYC downtown drumming denizens Aaron Alexander and David Licht join the band with Elaine Hoffman Watts pupil and Motown drumming star Gerry Brown for an updated reprise of Jacob Hoffman’s often imitated “Gasa Nign.” In this version, Susan’s lovely contralto scats the nign in a haunting intro that breathes new life into this classic chestnut.

All four drummers are also featured on a somewhat out version of “Zigainer Tantz” and the closer, “Aveenu Malkeynu,” against which Susan sings a deeply heartfelt lyric that's faithful to the song’s intent. The album’s featured piece is “Eateleh’s Suiteleh,” which begins with perhaps the first ever recorded drum doina, which then melds into some soulful tension building trumpet trilling followed by the rhythmical release of “Eateleh Freilach.” Yes, Elaine Hoffman Watts remembers klezmer and her memory rings true on this delightfully contemporary family affair.

This independent release is available at CD Baby.com (see right panel).


Track Listing: 1. I'll Just Keep Going Rhumba 2. Freilach 21 3. Gasa Nign 4. Freilach 5. Shtetle Ias 6. Eateleh's Suiteleh 7. Lakeleh 8. Chasidishe Freilach 9. Zigainer Tantz 10. Trish's Freilach 11. Bagopolier Freilach 12. Aveenu Malkeynu

Personnel: Drums: Elaine Hoffman Watts, Gerry Brown, David Licht, Aaron Alexander; Trumpet: Susan Watts, Frank London; Trombone: Rachel Lemisch; Tuba: Travis Johnson, Jay Krush; Accordion: Kat Flagg; Xylophone Excerpt: Jacob Hoffman.

Title: I Remember Klezmer: The Art of Klezmer Drumming | Year Released: 2004 | Record Label: Independent Records

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Satoko Fujii Solo CD/LP/Track Review Satoko Fujii Solo
by Karl Ackermann
Published: January 17, 2018
Read when the shade is stretched CD/LP/Track Review when the shade is stretched
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 17, 2018
Read The Influencing Machine CD/LP/Track Review The Influencing Machine
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Presence CD/LP/Track Review Presence
by Geannine Reid
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Flaneur CD/LP/Track Review Flaneur
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: January 16, 2018
Read D'Agala CD/LP/Track Review D'Agala
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 16, 2018
Read "Walk Against Wind" CD/LP/Track Review Walk Against Wind
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: April 14, 2017
Read "Live In Europe" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Europe
by Mark Corroto
Published: November 28, 2017
Read "Italy 2016" CD/LP/Track Review Italy 2016
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 30, 2017
Read "Live In Geneva" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Geneva
by John Sharpe
Published: January 4, 2018
Read "Nomad" CD/LP/Track Review Nomad
by Nick Davies
Published: April 18, 2017
Read "Les Deux Versants Se Regardent" CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017