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David Krakauer seeks to expand the boundaries of klezmer music by going into the past and navigating his way through a current stream. To do this successfully, particularly where traditional music comes in, the structure should be pliable enough to be fleshed out with getting into a sag. The ones Krakauer has chosen lend themselves to his ministrations and that of his band with an ease that gives them enough relevance in the constant reshaping of what gets tucked under the umbrella of jazz.
The blend gives the album a welcome balance. Tradition kicks into high gear with a call to dance on "The Kozatzke/Der Ziser," with its flouncing rhythm before Krakauer shoots fusillades and then sends shards into the stratosphere before coming back full circle. Moving in another direction and unfolding ever so gently is the delectable "Der Gasn Nign." Krakauer crafts this one beautifully, his lines chock full of melodic intensity. Even as he sails seamlessly into the upper register, Norton and Holshauser keep the tempo gently relaxed.
The new compositions cast their spell as well. Krakauer, always an exciting player, kicks into high gear with "Tribe Number Thirteen" which is set up by a funky bass line that is invitation enough for him to squiggle and skip before the melody line is scarped by the electric guitar. Another happy outing, "Television Frailachs" marries Krakauer's writing with themes from television shows, all put together seamlessly.
Intensity is built with passion and controlled emotion on "The New Year After...," written a week after 9/11. Enunciated softly by the vocal of Krakauer, the tune builds gradually, a soft cry exploding in fury. The tension is also palpable on "Table Pounding," the theme developed in a slow long lope that gives way very briefly to an explosion of sound before dipping back into a slowly churning vortex.
Track Listing: Tribe Number Thirteen, The Kozatzke/Der Ziser, The Gypsy Bulgar, Chusen Kale Mazel Tov, Queen of the Midnight Fax, The New Year After, Bulgar, Der Gasn Nign, Television Frailachs, Table Pounding, As If.
Personnel: David Krakauer (clarinet, bass clarinet, shofar, vocals), Kevin O'Neil (electric guitar), Roger Kleier (electric guitar, 2nd guitar, loops), Will Holshouser (accordion), Nicki Parrott (acoustic and electric bass), Kevin Norton (drums), So Called (sampler/sequencer)
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.