New Orleans Klezmer Allstars

New Orleans Klezmer Allstars

The Big Kibosh


You might not expect New Orleans to be a natural choice for klezmer music, but on reflection, the city’s fertile musical muck will yield just about anything, larger and more pungent than any hydroponically-grown hothouse hybrid. The New Orleans Klezmer Allstars push the genre to new heights, bringing forth smiles and tears from a frantic beat and some of the most expressive clarinet playing I’ve heard. Three tracks on The Big Kibosh are part of the Wedding Suite: “Di Zilberne Chasene,” “Transition to Buffet,” and “Taking the Flower Arrangements Home After the Wedding.” The Allstars have a typically Jewish sense of humor, which means it’s not for everyone, but their music is pretty accessible, despite its clearly ethnic sound. “Palestine,” for example, runs a traditional klezmer tune through bayou swamp boogie, with jaw-dropping results.

Helping things greatly is the fantastic musicianship the band possesses — each member plays their part, whether easy or difficult, with ease and nuance. A series of guests, including Galactic’s stellar drummer Stanton Moore, manage to add a diverse touch. I imagine catching this band live is nothing short of transcendental, but until that moment comes, The Big Kibbosh will have to substitute. Shanachie Records, 13 Laight St., New York, NY 10013;

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