Klezmer Music: Early Yiddish Instrumental Music: The First Recordings: 1908-1927, From the Collection of Dr. Martin Schwartz

Klezmer Music: Early Yiddish Instrumental Music: The First Recordings: 1908-1927, From the Collection of Dr. Martin Schwartz

Klezmer Music: Early Yiddish Instrumental Music: The First Recordings: 1908-1927, From the Collection of Dr. Martin Schwartz Rating:

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Since the dawn of the 78 record, the instrumental Yiddish folk music known as klezmer has seen its ups and downs. But thankfully, like the entire Jewish culture that fostered it, klezmer has persevered and along the way influenced how some of us hear jazz, bluegrass, even comedy. Ignore the scratches and pops of the 78s, and you will hear why klezmer is a timeless yet progressive music, built upon improvisation. For its sheer diversity, this collection of early recorded klezmer–taken from the vast music library of Dr. Martin Schwartz–has no rivals. On the opening cut from 1923, Jacob Hoffman plays a furious xylophone solo; on 1916’s “Yiddisch Chusedel,” Max Leibowitz plays the fiddle backed only by the rock-steady rhythm of a piano; and Joseph Solinksi brings a thoroughly haunting violin solo to “Rumanische Fantasien (Part 1)” that doesn’t sound at all like it came from 1911. Klezmer greats get their due props, too: tracks by Dave Tarras, Naftule Brandwein, and a handful of Abe Schwartz compositions give the compilation its backbone. As with most good klezmer tunes, there’s joy to be found in this music, and sadness, too; but on this set, variety reigns supreme and steals the show. Absolutely essential for klezmer enthusiasts. –Jason Verlinde

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