Dirty Linen (p.42) - "[A] 17-track CD that celebrates the cultural exchange between Jewish music and a global-ranging blend of klezmer, jazz, rock, funk, world music, dub, and hip-hop influences."
In a lot of ways, the spread of klezmer has mirrored the Jewish diaspora. It started out in Europe, village music for poor folk, then once in America it took on a new life, fitted out in new clothes and (literally) jazzed up. Then, in the decades since the end of World War II, it's taken on a fresh, much more urban profile back in Europe. Klezmer is global -- the only place it doesn't seem to have a hold of some sort is Israel, perhaps because it's music that goes along with the Yiddish language, not Hebrew. This quick survey of people operating near the musical frontiers of klezmer is illuminating. The Klezmatics, major architects of the klezmer revival, are shown here in a multi-faith gospel context that isn't perhaps the most illustrative, while elsewhere the music moves from near blues ("Friling") to a hip-hop version of a Jewish wedding ("Kaze Bazetsn"), and from the relatively bland (the much-praised Oi Va Voi, who fail to satisfy, or even sound especially klezmer-ish on "Yuri") to the aural richness of Mikveh's "Vos Vet Zayn." At times it goes into overdrive, as on the track by original Klezmatics' member David Krakauer, where the music heads of towards the avant-garde, and the following, wonderful cut by pianist (not an instrument associated with klezmer by any means) Marilyn Lerner lands it squarely on the musical front line -- then she reappears on the next track as a very accomplished accompanist on "Tati und Mami Tanz." There's the venerable (Theodore Bikel) and the unusual, like the mandolin that brings in "Nayer Khusid Tanz," but there's something for every new strand of klezmer -- and even a touch of the more mainstream to finish things off. ~ Chris Nickson