Klezmer music

An Ear For Jazz, And Klez


There seems to be a meme among Israeli jazz musicians: leave Israel, move to the U.S., and here, in the great mishmash of cultures, reconnect to your Jewish roots.

A hearing impairment hasn’t slowed Alon Nechushtan’s career. Courtesy of Alon Nechushtan

The Sounds Of Belarus, Reimagined In Brooklyn

Litvakus draws on forgotten traditional pieces to forge a new klezmer sound.

Special To The Jewish Week

He is a man who bestrides two worlds, with one foot in America, the other in Belarus. Or one foot in academia, the other in music. At the moment, though, Dmitri “Zisl” Slepovitch has both feet planted squarely in being a Daddy; his sleeping 20-month-old daughter is now safely entrusted to her nanny.

“It’s a sound that is totally unknown anywhere else.” Leonid Gilman

Israelis Playing Klez — With Cello?

Welcome to the 12th Night Klezmer collective.

Special To The Jewish Week

In the world of Jewish roots music — that is, music that originated in the shtetls of Eastern Europe — Elad Kabilio has two strikes against him: he’s Israeli and he’s a cellist.

“We wanted to reintroduce klezmer from an angle” listeners might not be familiar with. Courtesy of 12th Night Klezmer

Musical Mixing And Matching

Isle of Klezbos and the Klezmer/Jazz Alliance have more in common than you might think.

Special To The Jewish Week

One band is celebrating its second album and 16 years of existence.

The other is brand new and hoping to get into the studio soon.

One leader has been at the head of two of New York’s longest running klezmer bands since their inceptions.

Brian Glassman’s ensemble moves effortlessly between musical genres. Glory Yew.

Talk Yiddish To Me

At a glance, hip hop and klezmer don't seem like a natural mix.  But you ain't seen nothing yet.

Anderson and the Postmodern Jukebox band perform "Talk Dirty"... klezmer style. Photo courtesy YouTube

Krakauer Goes To The Movies

Month-long series has the clarinetist exploring tunes from films with Jewish content.

Special To The Jewish Week

The noted clarinetist David Krakauer has moved through enough genres to last several musical lifetimes. In the past 25 years he has played everything from klezmer (where he was one of the leaders of the klez revival) to classical, jazz, folk and funk.

A new lens on his work: Krakauer arranges tunes from Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Photo courtesy GMD3

Puppets, Klezmer And A Polish Tale

A dying puppet begs for water; laughing puppets share apples and steal horses; flirting puppets fly through the air like lovers in a painting by Chagall; in the last scene, a puppet father-to-be is saved from murderous despair by the stirrings of his puppet child in the belly of his puppet wife… Oh, yes, and the klezmer clarinetist (not a puppet), crazed by the Nazis’ murder of his band and everyone in his shtetl, crawls into an earthen burrow and declares himself a badger – a badger who wants his tallis. All this in an hour and ten minutes, and that includes nine songs arranged or composed by Frank London of Klezmatics fame. 

Aaron Novik’s ‘Secrets’

The eclectic, avant-klez clarinetist takes inspiration from a 13th-century kabbalist.

Special to the Jewish Week

Rabbi Eleazar of Worms was a 13th-century scholar whose life was torn apart when two Crusaders broke into his house and killed his wife and three children. After that terrible incident in 1196, he wrote numerous ethical texts counseling cheerfulness, patience and love for humanity, suggesting a greatness of spirit that all but passes understanding. But he also delved deep into the mystical vein of Judaism, authoring countless kabbalistic texts including new systems of gematria (the numerological interpretation of Torah) and a singular work called “The Secrets of Secrets.”

Novik, below on bass clarinet, in a recent performance. Mark Wilson
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