Not Your Father's Klezmer Band[CD]
OK, so it's not exactly the klezmer that your grandparents' grandparents would have remembered from the old country. But they would have loved to hear a wailing clarinet leading into a Benny Goodman-like rendition of "Bai Mir Bistu Sheyn," which in turn leads to a dizzying contrapuntal layering of "Bai Mir" with "It Ain't Necessarily So," "Puttin' on the Ritz," and 'Mein Herr." And they would have loved to hear two of the most familiar Jewish melodies of all time played on . . . a bassoon? You'll love it too. This CD, which one reviewer described as a "wildly creative concoction," reaches out over genres, oceans, and time, and perfectly embodies the playfulness and energy of klemer's ecstatic soul. It includes klezmerized versions of the University of Michigan fight song ("Chail to the Victors"), "76 Trombones," "This Land is Your Land," and several others. It also includes some of the most creative arrangements and unusual instrumentation you've ever heard, that, again according to the reviews, "triumphantly defies expectations" and "stretches the boundaries of the genre." Where else can you hear "This Little Light of Mine" sneaking in under the blessing for lighting the Chanukah candles, which then sashays down Bourbon Street while a couple of trombones try to talk over each other from the sidelines? Or hear a tuba / euphonium quartet, a marimba, a xylophone, and a bassoon accompany a full klezmer band on possibly the most frenzied rendition of "Hava Nagila" ever recorded? Or delight to an old standard like "Tsena" set to a whole new groove, with what sounds like Professor Longhair at the piano, and the steel drum-like lull of a marimba blowing in from the Caribbean? Dor l'Dor is Hebrew for "from generation to generation," which describes the make-up of the band and looks back to the practice of families of klezmer musicians passing down this rich musical tradition to their children. Dor l'Dor was born in 1999, jointly delivered by Ken and Susan Brown not long after discovering that they were "with band." The original group consisted of Ken (clarinet), Susan (piano), their three children (on trombone, bass, and tambourine), and Ken's brother on drums. As different "Dors" exit and re-enter to and from college and graduate school, students from the University of Tennessee's amazing trombone studio have joined us. Our current instrumentation is: clarinet, piano, bass, mandolin, drums, and three (sometimes four) trombones. That's right, four trombones. You'd be amazed at what possibilities that opens up for the traditional repertoire (and not just for our arrangement of "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho" with four trombones and shofar). Dor l'Dor also describes the timeless appeal of our repertoire, from "Bulgar a la Naftule" to "When I'm Sixty-Four," and from "Goodnight Irene" to "Yossel, Yossel." But regardless of the genre, our arrangements discover fresh possibilities in this traditional music, so that even the pieces that audiences find delightfully familiar will seem brand new.
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