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During a time when Jewish music became an integral part of the downtown NYC and world music scenes, clarinetist David Krakauer's Sunday klezmer brunch at Lower East Side's Tonic enabled multiple generations to rediscover their musical roots in the neighborhood where their forefathers discovered America. This offering chronicles those live performances, and whether it was a traditional "Chusidl" spiced up by the youthful Klezminors, Charm City Klezmer's fresh take on Yiddish theatre, or Metropolitan Klezmer's classic "doina" build into an all out Hasidic free for all, Sundays at Tonic accented a pride in the music's origins, combined with an excitement for its future.
Curator David Krakauer is delightfully much in evidence, with his own Klezmer Madness delivering two memorable performances of their jazz/funk-infused klezmer. Additionally, Krakauer collaborations with beatmaster DJ SoCalled and electric violinist Sophie Solomon reinterpret the traditional "Bb Bulgar" and show past its future on a moving "Electro Taxim." Whereas Krakauer's powerful horn owes allegiance to klezmer clarinet patriarch Naftule Brandwein, Margot Leverett's elegant style and judicious use of ornamentation is more in the tradition of the great Shloimke Beckerman. Her trio's performance of "Tayere Odessa" is a thing of beauty.
Italy-based Meshuge Klezmer, who have released their own live at Tonic CD, serve up a jazz fusion version of "Berdichiever Khosid" before Sway Machinery brings to mind guitarist Dick Dale on the rockin' "Schwier und Schweigger." Female klezmer supergroup Mikveh, with violinist Alicia Svigals leading the way, adeptly navigates the changing tempos of heartfelt nign and up-tempo freylekh, while Basya Schechter and Pharaoh's Daughter show that they can both jam with Krakman on "West African Nign" and convincingly deliver the folky yet compelling "Confession."
Musically remembered as a receptive forum for young bands and a place for seasoned vets to try out new concepts or tune up for international tours, Music from the Winery presents the best of the brunch's five-year run.
Track Listing: 1. Bb Bulgar;
2. Berogovski Tish Nign/Bagopolier Freylekhs/Liebes Tanz;
3. Old Country Madness!;
4. West African Niggun;
5. Berdichiever Khosid;
6. Der Gasn Nign;
7. Rumanian Medley: Doina, Sirba, Volokh;
8. Schwier Und Schweigger;
9. Lomir Zikh Iberbetn;
11. Tayere Odessa;
12. Electro Taxim;
Personnel: Charm City Klezmer,
Klezmer Madness Quartet,
Margot Leverett Trio,
Meshuge Klezmer Band,
Socalled and Krakauer,
Solomon and Krakauer,
The Sway Machinery
As a songwriter and vocalist, I love jazz for the experience of being in the center of intense creativity. It is the most potent form of music for keeping the artist and the audience in the 'now. Being in the moment is essential for humans, and we need help in learning how to do that. As a songwriter, I need the depth of musicality that jazz voicings can give my stories. My songs seem light and whimsical, but the message is not.
I met my main collaborator, Mark Fitzgibbon, at one of his gigs. I needed to do my first original album, and his playing was masterful, robust, and beautiful. At the time, I didn't realize how suited we were as a team. We're onto our 4rth album together.
My advice to new listeners is to listen to a really clear and simple version of a song so you can then hear what the musicians are doing and enjoy their creativity and musicality. Also, you have to see jazz live to appreciate it fully. You'll never feel it the same way listening to a CD or online. You need the vibration to go through your body to really get it!
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