Give klezmer a try with Klezwoods’ release
By Bernie Whitmore
Before listening to The Klezwoods’ The 30th Meridian, had someone mentioned klezmer music, I wouldn’t have known what they were talking about. But as soon as I gave it a listen, something deeply encoded in my musical DNA resonated. Strongly.
This is because Klezwoods, a Boston-based ensemble, fuses bits of jazz, rock and modern attitude with the tradition of Eastern European Jewish dance and wedding/celebration music. In this contest of sounds, Jewish wedding wins, hands down. They accomplish this with almost every species of brass instrument, guitar, violin and percussion. The result? Klezmer music that, I daresay, won’t offend traditionalists, yet appeals to contemporary tastes.
The CD’s subtitle, From Cairo to St. Petersburg with Love, starts, as promised, with tracks that sound like music from the Kasbah ~ with a rogue trumpet player on the loose. Then, “Hot Wheels” enters with a rockish beat yielding to the full brass ensemble and soulful violin. “Play to Win” leads with guitar and trumpet and has some of the CD’s stronger jazz undercurrents. One of the more soulful pieces wraps it up: “January 7th Early in the Morning” is an elegiac piece, simple and short, featuring accordion and brass.
As an experiment, I shuffled The 30th Meridian with DeVotchka’s gypsy-punk SuperMelodrama CD and a collection of mid-20th century Paris cafe field recordings that I picked up somewhere on the web. The result was surprisingly seamless and uplifting. You’ll want to jump on the table and dance.
The Klezwoods will be playing at Nick’s Bar & Restaurant, 124 Millbury St., Worcester, at 9 p.m. Thursday, April 25. Tickets are $10. For more information on the show and Klezwoods projects, visit www.klezwoods.com.