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New Orleans Klezmer All Stars: Fresh Out of the Past

Due to the current popularity of world music and a resurgence of interest in Yiddish culture, there’s been a revival of klezmer music, which began in the 1970s with the work of Giora Feidman, The Klezmorim, Andy Statman and Henry Sapoznik. During the 1980s and ’90s some klezmer performers, like Don Byron, have not been Jewish. Klezmer and related Jewish music was created in Central and Eastern Europe and is similar to various forms of Balkan music. Some artists, including Matt Darriau and Dave Douglas, play it because of its similarity to Gypsy, Bulgarian, Romanian, Greek, etc. genres; they dig them all.

Klezmer and klezmer-influenced artists range from traditionalists who try to recreate 1920s performances to experimenters including Chassidic New Wave and Masada, which blend Jewish music with jazz and classical influences. The New Orleans Klezmer All Stars fall somewhere between these two extremes and the group ranks among the most popular klezmer outfits. On Fresh Out of the Past, their music is good-humored, spirited, accessible and contains rock and R&B influences. The band consists of two reedmen, an accordionist, guitarist, bassist and drummer. They come at you relentlessly, maybe too relentlessly. But they’re having fun and they communicate it. That’s all a lot of listeners want.

Originally Published