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King of the Klezmer Clarinet
     

The King of the Klezmer Clarinet

by Naftule Brandwein
 
Klezmer's bad boy, Naftule Brandwein was a towering innovator with an eccentric reputation to match. The self-proclaimed "King of Klezmer Clarinet," Brandwein rose to fame as part of Abe Schwartz's Orchestra in the early '20s. While his blinding virtuosity made Jews' jaws go slack, it was Brandwein's antics that got attention: Appearing

Overview

Klezmer's bad boy, Naftule Brandwein was a towering innovator with an eccentric reputation to match. The self-proclaimed "King of Klezmer Clarinet," Brandwein rose to fame as part of Abe Schwartz's Orchestra in the early '20s. While his blinding virtuosity made Jews' jaws go slack, it was Brandwein's antics that got attention: Appearing onstage in an Uncle Sam costume bedecked with Christmas lights and wearing a neon sign around his neck was just the beginning. The ecstatic urban wail of Brandwein's clarinet came to personify klezmer music for New York's immigrant audiences in the early part of the century, as the remarkable recordings on KING OF THE KLEZMER CLARINET prove. When his abrasive personality got him kicked out of Schwartz's band (affording Dave Tarras his first step to klezmer superstardom), Brandwein led his own group. Listen to his sheer presence on these tracks and you can see why no band could hold him. Although Brandwein's white-hot style would lose favor among Jewish immigrants eager to assimilate, his explosive, almost pointillist style would influence a new generation of klezmer roughnecks decades after his death. Mark Schwartz

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Bob Tarte
Modern klezmer is unthinkable without clarinet terror Naftule Brandwein, who unleashed his prodigious but unschooled talent on New York City's professional Jewish musical community in the early 20th century. This exceptional collection of remastered 78 rpm sides mostly issued for the first time between 1922 and 1926 demonstrates the melodic intensity of Brandwein's improvisational style plus his trademarked weightless swoops. The sheer note density of his playing also amazes, plus the degree to which he dominates every one of these recordings. Some ascribe much of his success to grandstanding on-stage decked out in a neon sign or Uncle Sam attire. But listen to these tracks, then elsewhere to cover versions by the likes of the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band and even 3 Mustaphas 3, and note that the originals were so modern that these contemporary bands pay tribute with near note-for-note emulations. These are remarkable recordings.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/14/1997
Label:
Rounder / Umgd
UPC:
0011661112728
catalogNumber:
1127
Rank:
17046

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