Great things can and often do come in the most unexpected places. Musical collective Klezmer-ish is proof of that statement. Having originally met while serving with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the group released its debut album in 2016. The album, Music of the Travellers, is a celebration of cultural diversity, including that of its own members, who come from their own unique background. The group followed up that record Friday with its sophomore album Dusty Road. Released through Riverboat Records, the 12-song, mostly instrumental album is a presentation that World Music fans will find appealing. That is because as the group’s name infers, the group’s music is not limited to just the Jewish musical tradition. Rather, the 56-minute record reaches into the American influence on the style to add to its appeal. Case in point is the group’s take on the timeless jazz song ‘I’m Confessin’.’ This song will be addressed shortly. The most notable of the full-on klezmer style work comes right in the song’s outset in ‘The Klezmer’s Freilach.’ It will be discussed a little later. The album’s title track, which closes out its run, is yet another way in which the album shows its appeal. When it is considered with the other noted songs and the rest of the album’s presentation, the whole of the album becomes a presentation that will appeal to any World Music aficionado.
Klezmer-ish’s sophomore album Dusty Road is a successful new effort from the up-and-coming World Music collection that fans of the genre are certain to appreciate. That is because despite the group’s name, its new album is not limited to just the noted style of music. The quartet also leans into the jazz realm in its new album while also maintaining the klezmer influences in the process. That is most obvious in the group’s take of the timeless jazz song ‘I’m Confessin’.’ One of only two full compositions in this record to feature a vocal performance, this song takes the European influence of the klezmer style and crosses that with a touch of old Benny Goodman big band style approach for a whole arrangement that is one of the most unique and enjoyable takes on the classic Chris Smith/Sterling Grant work to ever be recorded. The gentle, flowing clarinet work of Thomas Verity works with Rob Shepley’s work on the guitar to make the whole a work that will take listeners back to the shimmering social clubs of the 1930s that lit up the nights. The same can be said of the equally gentle vocal delivery in this song. The whole is a work that blends the two unique noted musical styles for one whole that is unquestionably one of the album’s strongest entries. It is just one of the album’s most notable works. The record’s opener, ‘The Klezzmer’s Freilach’ is another strong addition to the album.
‘The Klezmer’s Freilach’ stands on its own merits as it is a direct tribute to the dances that members of the Jewish community danced – and dance to this day – at celebrations, such as holidays and mitvahs. The joy that must be experienced at those dances is so well translated throughout this song. It starts off slow, but builds quickly, delivering so much energy and positive sense. One can almost visualize the people dancing, and then resetting at the song’s midpoint before their feet start moving all over again. Shepley and Verity once again shine here in their own right while accordion player Cocettina Del Vecchio adds her own touch through her performance. Double bassist Marcel Becker ensures the song’s tempo is maintained through his own work, too. The group’s dynamic control throughout the composition makes for so much engagement and enjoyment. The end result of the group’s performance is a strong opener for the album, and another example of what makes the album such an enjoyable overall presentation. The record’s title track, which closes it out, is one more of its strong points.
‘Dusty Road’ is the second of the album’s two only full compositions that also boasts a vocal line. It’s hard to know which member of the quartet leads the way with this track. That is because all four members of the group contribute so much to this song. The vocals combine with the instrumentation to conjure thoughts of Nat King Cole at times. The instrumentation meanwhile once again adds that klezmer influence through the use of the accordion and clarinet while the guitar line adds more of a jazz sense to the song. At the same time, the clarinet could be argued to exhibit its own jazz sense along with that klezmer influence. Regardless, it can be said that this song brings listeners the best of both worlds once again and balances them expertly. The result is a composition that is just as engaging and entertaining as the album’s other songs, including the others discussed here. When all of the songs are considered together, they make Dusty Road a musical road that any listener will enjoy traveling.
Klezmer-ish’s sophomore album Dusty Road is a positive new offering from the up-and-coming World Music act. That is because the album’s arrangements once again bring listeners elements of klezmer music and other musical styles. All three of the songs examined here serve to support that statement. The album’s other tracks could support that statement just as easily. All things considered, the musical journey on which Dusty Road takes listeners is a trip that audiences will enjoy from beginning to end. Dusty Road is available now. More information on the album is available along with all of the band’s news at:
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