Down Beat (12/00, p.92) - 5 stars out of 5 - "...Their finest hour...beautiful, little-known Yiddish songs....that succeed in reflecting the mood of each song....excellent..."
Klezmer Conservatory Band: Judy Bressler (vocals, tambourine); Jeff Warschauer (guitar, tenor banjo, mandolin, background vocals); Deborah Strauss (violin); Robin Miller (flute, piccolo); Illene Stahl (clarinet); Hankys Netsky (accordion, alto saxophone, piano); Mark Berney (cornet); Mark Hamilton (trombone); James Guttmann (bass); Grant Smith (drums, percussion).
Recorded at Blue Jay Studio, Carlisle, Massachusetts. Includes liner notes by Hankus Netsky.
Digitally remastered by Laurie Flannery (Northeastern Digital Recording, Southborough, Massachusetts).
Adapter: Jeff Warschauer.
Personnel: Judy Bressler (vocals, tambourine); Jeff Warschauer (guitar, tenor banjo, mandolin, background vocals); Deborah Strauss (violin); Robin Miller (flute, piccolo); Hankus Netsky (accordion, alto saxophone, piano); Ilene Stahl (clarinet); Mark Berney (cornet); Mark Hamilton (trombone); Art Bailey (piano); Grant Smith (drums, percussion).
Liner Note Author: Hankus Netsky.
Recording information: Blue Jay Recording Studio, Carlisle, MA.
Director: Hankus Netsky.
Editor: Hankus Netsky.
Photographer: Susan Wilson.
Translators: Hannah Bressler; Judy Bressler.
Arrangers: Deborah Strauss; Sholom Secunda; Nat Farber; Judy Bressler; Hankus Netsky; Ilene Stahl; Jeff Warschauer; Klezmer Conservatory Band; Naftule Brandwein.
With 19 songs and nearly 70 minutes of music, this ranks among the Klezmer Conservatory Band's most extensive releases. Incorporating an eclectic range of influences, from Russian waltzes, Romanian Bulgars, and klezmer swing to traditional Jewish wedding tunes and a Leonard Cohen cover, a careful effort is made to preserve the legacies of those who came before them. With 11 members, they can certainly create a massive sound, though the collection is well balanced between roaring boisterous tracks and more somber, stripped-down pieces. However complex their sound may be, it certainly isn't cluttered, as "Skotshne #60 a la Merlin" and "Bukharester Bulgar" are only a few of the precisely crafted renditions here. More than anything, what comes through is a band that truly understands and enjoys recreating these highly evocative songs, as they beautifully portray the past struggles and joys of their cultural heritage. All in all, this band has ample room to spread out over the course of the disc, and you get to an authentic look at what the best band in klezmer has to offer. ~ Matt Fink