Home » Jazz Articles » Album Review » David Krakauer & Kathleen Tagg: Mazel Tov Cocktail Party!


David Krakauer & Kathleen Tagg: Mazel Tov Cocktail Party!


Sign in to view read count
David Krakauer & Kathleen Tagg: Mazel Tov Cocktail Party!
When David Krakauer and Kathleen Tagg announced the release of Mazel Tov Cocktail Party! , they included this accompanying statement: "This project riffs off a slip of the tongue by a conservative pundit who called Molotov Cocktails "Mazel Tov" Cocktails. We were tickled by the imagery of a "Mazel Tov Cocktail" lighting up the world with hope and joy—instead of being a destructive force... We wanted to take traditional, old dance forms and completely recast them to bring an overt message of tolerance and celebration of our shared humanity."

"Celebration" captures the riotous, joyous sound of Mazel Tov Cocktail Party! in a single word. Or at least as close as one word can get to capturing the sound of an ensemble co-led by multi-instrumentalist Tagg (assorted keyboards, cello, electronics and beats) and Krakauer, one of the world's leading (and certainly among the world's most experimental) klezmer clarinet players—it is built upon a rhythm section teaming American bassist Jerome Harris and guitarist Yoshie Fruchter with Iranian drummer Martin Shamoonpour, and also features three guest mixmasters/DJs.

With klezmer, hip-hop, calypso, polka, and other dance forms as their baseline, this party opens with a square dance. Krakauer blows clarinet like hot wind into the sails of "North Country Square Dance (Square Dance All Night)" to keep it rolling while Harris' bass lines bounce like a tuba player blowing in a moonshine jug, and hipster Tagg throws down a rap (including a verse in either patois or French) which doubles as a square dance call. In the same way, Krakauer's swinging clarinet, Harris' thumping tuba bass lines, and Tagg's vocal throwdown energize "Krakky's Rainbow Polka," even as the surrounding music bounces from polka to calypso to techno/electro to hard funk and rock. But, best of all, "Krakky's Rainbow Polka" makes playing the clarinet sound like fun. How great is that?

Just like these first two, the last two tunes are joyous celebrations. "Wedding on the Cyclone" is a perfect fit and description, a marriage made up of different musical cultures whirled together and collectively poured out with primal force. Krakauer's clarinet leads a repeating three-step dance through which the rhythm section keeps inventing new pathways, with mouth harp adding an extra twangy bounce, and the entire ensemble blooming into a lusty melodic and rhythmic roar as the leader rips into a few choruses of the traditional "Hava Negila" before dismissing the troops. "The Happy Hour Crew Theme Song" drops an enthusiastically wild and crazy coda on this enthusiastically wild and crazy set.

Musical and other cultural references whiz in and out of Mazel Tov Cocktail Party! like the howling flying monkeys in The Wizard of Oz, and it is a decent bet that you have most likely not heard too much music like this before.

Track Listing

North Country Square Dance (Square Dance All Night); Krakky's Rainbow Polka; Bella's Calypso (Bella suit son cœur); Jammin' with Socalled; Mazel Tov Cocktail Party; I'm A Poor Wayfaring Stranger; Drum and Hornpipe: Poll Ha'penny; Wedding on the Cyclone


David Krakauer
Jerome Harris
guitar, electric
Additional Instrumentation

Sarah MK: rap vox, vocals, organ, tambourine; Martin Shamoonpour: daf (Iranian Frame drum), jaw's harp, whistles; Bergsonist: samples, electronics; Jeremy Flower a/k/a Keepalive: samples, electronics; Socalled: samples, electronics.

Album information

Title: Mazel Tov Cocktail Party! | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: Table Pounding Records



For the Love of Jazz
Get the Jazz Near You newsletter All About Jazz has been a pillar of jazz since 1995, championing it as an art form and, more importantly, supporting the musicians who create it. Our enduring commitment has made "AAJ" one of the most culturally important websites of its kind, read by hundreds of thousands of fans, musicians and industry figures every month.

You Can Help
To expand our coverage even further and develop new means to foster jazz discovery and connectivity we need your help. You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky ads plus provide access to future articles for a full year. This winning combination will vastly improve your AAJ experience and allow us to vigorously build on the pioneering work we first started in 1995. So enjoy an ad-free AAJ experience and help us remain a positive beacon for jazz by making a donation today.


Silent, Listening
Fred Hersch
Riley Mulherkar
3 Works For Strings
Giusto Chamber Orchestra
My Multiverse
Pearring Sound


Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.