Vol. 1, No. 88

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28 February 1997

EDITOR'S NOTE: Well, we're still waiting for the listserv specialist to return from vacation (I think he gets back on Monday). I'll try and send out directions (like, the exact address to use for posting to the list, how to switch between digest and non-digest format, etc.), as soon as I find out what they are.

BTW, I've now completely left my previous job, and cleaned off the old hard drive. I hope that my files here are completely up-to-date: please let me know if I've missed someone.

Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 15:04:21 -0600
From: "Paul S. Johnson" <john0058@gold.tc.umn.edu>
Subject: Contrabass Klezmer
> I am not really certain what directions some of the contra players in
> your newsletter are going, but there is a Klezmer band in Alaska, they
> have made at least one CD, the Tuba player also plays bass clarinet, and
> has an interest in the contras. I could see(I mean hear) a contra really
> contributing to a Klezmer sound. This group is very popular in Alaska, I
> don't know how Klezmer music fares elsewhere....
I think bass sax would be the perfect addition to any klezmer band. It could hold down the bass line (it would help if it could go a little lower, but its very ballsy timbre makes it quite acceptable as a bass line instrument) or a counterbass bass part (often covered by trombone which not all klezmer bands have - bari could also do this marvelously). It would also be possible to develop a unique bass sax style that holds down the bass and incorporates counterbass or countermelody at the same time (a la Adrian Rollini). A low sax would intensify the festive and quirky Mickey Katz quality of any klezmer band. Klezmer Conservatory Band had a bari for awhile, but I can't think of any other klezmer band that has taken advantage of a low sax.
> ******************************************************
> Personally, I really enjoy Klezmer. Despite the accordians
No way. Check out accordionist Alan Bern of Brave Old World. I got to sit in with him once. He knows an incredible amount about klezmer groove and one could learn much from closely listening to his recordings. The accordionist of the Klezmatics, on the other hand, is mostly a non-presence.
> I've run across CDs by a couple of bands that I particularly like. One is
> the Flying Bulgur Klezmer Band (which uses taragoto, amongst other things: I
> think they have only one CD out), and the Klezmatics (who use bass clarinet
> to good effect:
My complaint about most klezmer bass clarinetists is that they always play it like a regular clarinet, only lower. None of them ever play it as a rhythm instrument. It could play counter melody or counterbass to very good effect. The other thing is that it is almost always a secondary doubling instrument so you never hear a Bb clarinet and bass clarinet played simultaneously.

You've probably figured out by now I'm a rhythm player.

Paul S. Johnson

From: KUUP84A@prodigy.com (MR MARK A TRINKO)
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 17:33:06, -0500
Subject: Contrabass-L No. 87

Grant gets another instrument?!?!?!?

Sure hope Grant plans on bringing all these neat contra-instruments to the Contra-fest in Nevada Jan 5-8, 1998.

I'm not a music maniac for nothing ;-)

Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 17:55:41 -0500 (EST)
From: Farfl <lederman@inforamp.net>
Subject: Re: Contrabass-L No. 87
I could see (I mean hear) a contra really
>contributing to a Klezmer sound. This group is very popular in Alaska, I
>don't know how Klezmer music fares elsewhere....
After attending "Klezkamp" one year with my Albert "C" clarinet, I decided that low horns would be well employed performing "my people's" music! I play Klezmer on my EEb Contra-alto, and more often on my bass saxophone; the only recorded examples I have of this so far is a duet between myself and my deceased dog, Shemp, who performed vocal acrobatics for "Excerpts from Dem Rebin's Nigun".
>Personally, I really enjoy Klezmer. Despite the accordians ;-)
>I've run across CDs by a couple of bands that I particularly like. One is
>the Flying Bulgur Klezmer Band (which uses taragoto, amongst other things: I
>think they have only one CD out),
The Flying Bulgars have two CDs out, both featuring my clarinet teacher, Martin van de Ven!
and the Klezmatics (who use bass clarinet
>to good effect: I have the CD "Jews with Horns").
You can also buy the Krackower (spelling?) Trio on the Tsaddick label; it's the solo effort by the bass clarinetist/clarinetist of The Klezmatics. Any Ben Goldberg CD is also a good bet to hear some really interesting bass clarinet playing. Klezmorim took a tune normally played on "C" clarinet and scored it for low winds on their live album.

Hebronically, Steven Lederman

From: tjohnson@akcache.com (Johnson, Tim)
Subject: Re: Contrabass-L No. 87
Date: Wed, 26 Feb 1997 15:32:47 -0900

Speaking of Klezmer some more....A group came to Alaska last spring. I believe they were called "Brave Old World". They had a Clarinetist who spent a lot of time on bass clarinet, and was VERY good, very traditional, and wrote much of his own stuff.

About 28 years ago, I used to listen to a jam session that included a contrabass clarinet, the player claimed to be a concentration camp survivor. Although I didn't know what Klezmer was at the time, I think that he had Klezmer influences. He used to do a duet with a tabla player....variations on the Clarinet intro to "American in Paris" pretty close to the original, except for the tabla and the two octaves lower.

By the way, Grant tell us about your Band, what's the lineup and the style? 

Well, it isn't my band yet... The lineup is fairly standard 50-60 piece concert band. 1 picc, 3-4 flutes, about 9 clarinets, alto clarinet, two bass clarinets (and hopefully a Bb contrabass clarinet/sarrusophone soon!), two oboes, two bassoons, two alto saxes, one tenor, one bari, 5-6 each horns and trumpets, 3-4 trombones, 2-3 euphonia, 3-4 tubas, a string bass, and several percussionists.

As for style, mainly heavy classical, with obligatory show tunes. "Festive Overture", Holst's "Suite in Eb for Military Band", JSB's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor", etc. The director demands (and gets!) a high level of musicianship from the group: nobody gets away with just faking their parts. They're great to play with. Anyone living in the SF bay area can see them frequently at the Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts (in Mountain View, on the penninsula), which is where they perform most often.


CD Review:

As I may have mentioned, yesterday was my last day at Chiron. As part of the farewell festivities, my co-workers presented me with a stack of CDs. The theme was "Let's see if we can find something that's too weird even for Grant." A fair number were culled from collections as "under appreciated."

In any event, there were a few interesting selections.


End Contrabass-L No. 88 26 February 1997

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