Heard and seen: Klezmer Conservatory Band in concert at Pavillon

For Chanuka celebration, Haskala had booked The Klezmer Conservatory Band from Boston, Ma. to perform at the Pavillon. Among others (f.e. Kapelye), KCB is "responsable" for the Klezmer revival during the late seventies / early eighties. I must admit, I've been sceptic, when Jimmy Guttmann carried his electric bass on to the stage and Mimi Rabson her electric violin. Klezmer and electronically amplified instruments? Hmm. And the first pieces seemed to prove my scepticism. The band wasn't yet "warm", as wasn't the audience, and I definitely once heard a better version of "Noch a gleyzl vayn" performed by somebody else. But when KCB played the first of Mimi Rabsons own compositions, this all belonged to history: performing "Klezzified", Mimi tried out all tricks and sound capabilities of her electric violin, and the drum solo in fact has been one of the best I've ever had heard. Electric violin, drum solo, Klezmer - how does that fit together? After this concert I must say: pretty well. KCB is - of that one must be aware - an American band. Maybe the "all American" band amongst all the American Klezmer bands, and what they are doing, surely is not traditional Jewish music - whatever that may be. They play a genuine Delta blues as well as they bring an old song (Mayn yiddishe meydele) to both a tango-, rumba- and swing-arrangement. Or they give a version of Ziggy Elman's old swing standard "And The Angels Sing", which is based on an old dancing tune, "Der shtiler bulgar", and which is best known performed by Benny Goodman. And then there was this terrifc and humouresque conglomerate of classical themes, beginning with Beethoven's 5th, touching Mendelssohn, Grieg, Mozart, Tchaikowsky and, and, and... and ending up again with Beethoven, with the "Ode to Joy" from the 9th symphony. I mentioned somewhere else, and I rather repeat: Klezmer music is contemporary music, it is, it was, and it ever will be. Somebody else made a difference between traditional Jewish music (whatever that will be ;-)) and "Jewish Pop" (whatever that will be ;-)). I guess the difference it not so very big. Klezmer is pop music - popular music as it's best.
Anyway, with their tremendous joy of playing KCB put the audience under their spell - and the audience thanked with standing ovations - until KCB performed "Rumenye, Rumenye", which until now I considered performed best by Norwegian singer Bente Kahan, but Judy's version was at least as good...
What else? Delicious as usual: Samy's Pita Falafel (hot). The drop of bitterness: This was the last concert in the two year history of the Klezmer Salon. What will be in the future? Will there still be so many nice Klez concerts in Hannover? As one could hear, next year the Klezmatics shall perform in Hannover (hmm, their last year's concert didn't please me as much...), and in October there will be a 3 day Klez festival. We will see.
The musicians:
  • Gary Bohan - trumpet
  • Judy Bressler - vocals, percussion
  • James Guttmann - bass
  • Mark Hamilton - trombone
  • Javier Perez-Saco - piano
  • Miriam "Mimi" Rabson - violin
  • Grant Smith - drums
  • Bob Sullivan - banjo, guitar, mandolin
  • Ilene Stahl - clarinet

    Klezmer Conservatory Band links:
    The Klezmer Conservatory Band Homepage
    Ari Davidow's review of Live-CD The Thirteenth Anniversary Album
    eMail Jim Guttmann (75454.2464@compuserve.com)

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