The Alexandria Kleztet


Ex Cayuga Klezmer Revival (their Klezmology CD still is one of my favourites) clarinetist Seth Kibel has founded an new group: The Alexandria Kleztet, named after the town he's living currently, Alexandria, Va. In summer 1999 they released their first CD: Y2Klezmer. For all those, being a little bit confused about the title: Y2K is the EDP usual acronym for the year 2000: Year 2 Kilo. In their millenium compilation the four Americans present 3 traditionals, 3 compositions from the sixties, among those one by Duke Ellington (Mount Harissa from the Far East Suite), and 5 compositions by Seth Kibel himself. Among those we find "Willard's Freilekh" and "Scooter's Waltz", hymns to Seth's pet turtle Willard, and violinist Claire Cardon's cat Scooter ... "Of course", the booklet reads, "the turtle song ist the faster one..." Additionally, we find 3 traditional bonus tracks. All songs are arranged in a manner, being kinda typical of Seth Kibel arrangements: hard rhythms, however not as closed to rhytm'n'blues as found on the Klezmology CD, but closer to jazz now.

It's interesting, to follow a musiscian's development by means of older and more recent recordings. Seth always has been a good clarinetist, but he's still better now - more mature above all. Personally, I would put him in one line with contemporary Klez clarinetists Ken Maltz, Kurt Bjorling or David Krakauer. Congenious are the other musicians, above all percussionist John Sausser, playing any stuff one can drum on: drums, djembe, doumbek, tablas, congas, rainsticks, cowbells, triangles, tambourine, chimes, and an instrument being called "goat hooves", an ancient African instrument, a bundle of, yes, goat hooves. And talking of this, there's "Odesser Bulgar" on the CD player, a most interesting version of that old traditional, with a fantastic conga solo performed by John ...

Y2Klezmer is a CD making a whole lot of fun. However - I had to hear it more than one time, I had to get used to it. That's why the review lasted so long ... Ok, among other reasons ... ;-)
The CD is of a remarkably high technical quality.

To come back to the CD's title finally: Is it really "Y2K safe"? Yes, it is, I surely will like to hear it in the next millenium ... ;-)

Y2Klezmer - The Alexandria Kleztet

  1. Willard's Freylekh (Kibel)
  2. Der Heyser Bulgar (trad.)
  3. A Polite Tango (Kibel)
  4. Klezmerobics (Kibel)
  5. Scooter's Waltz (Kibel)
  6. Erev Shel Shoshanim (Hadar)
  7. Fon der Choope (trad.)
  8. Rzhinkes mit Mandlen (Goldfaden)
  9. Freylekh (trad.)
  10. Oif'n Pripetshik (Warshavsky)
  11. Mount Harissa (Ellington/Strayhorn)
  12. Odesser Bulgar (trad.) (30 sec. mp3, 283K)
  13. Somnambulism (Kibel)
  14. Khanuke (trad.)
  15. Dreydl (trad.)
  16. Ma O'Tzur (trad.)

The musicians:

Seth Kibelclarinet, alto and tenor sax, flutes, electric and acoustic guitars, piano, harmonica
Claire Cardonviolin, viola
John Roberts,IIIbass
John Sausserpercussion



Detlev Müller, 11-DEC-1999
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