ABOUT "BRANCH FROM THE TREE"
Branch from the Tree features fresh interpretations of rarely heard material originally recorded by Romanian-born cymbalom master and Lower East Side restaurateur, Joseph Moskowitz. On this debut CD, the band also explores early 20th century Jewish fiddle pieces, improvisation, newly composed music, and pieces from the klezmer and Eastern European repertoire.
ABOUT ART BAILEY'S ORKESTRA POPILAR
Art Bailey’s Orkestra Popilar is a Jewish music ensemble led by accordionist and pianist Art Bailey and featuring bassist Jim Guttmann, violinists Jeremy Brown and Jake Shulman-Ment, and mandolinist Brandon Seabrook.
The sound of the ensemble owes more to the urgent, fiery sound of Romanian string and cymbalom ensembles than to Jewish-American wedding bands of the 40s and 50s, and draws from the cross-pollinated Romanian/Jewish repertoire, as well as Bailey’s own original compositions. With the absence of the American dance band drum set and clarinet, the group takes klezmer music out of the realm of the archetypical 1950s klezmer sound most listeners are familiar with, and puts it in a setting that is reminiscent of an even earlier time in the recorded history of Jewish music. The result is fresh, unique, and thoroughly engaging.
The idea to form the group initially was inspired by the recordings of Joseph Moskowitz, the Romanian cymbalom master who settled in New York City around 1913 and was owner and operator of the Moskowitz Wine Cellar on Rivington Street in lower Manhattan. The wine cellar was a popular gathering spot for Romanian Jews, who were certainly drawn in by Moskowitz’s cymbolm playing, and the restaurant was patronized by some of the celebrities of the day including H.L. Mencken, Theodore Dreiser and Joseph Pulitzer. Not only did Moskowitz’s repertoire include what we know as klezmer, but it also included ragtime, parlor pieces, and European classical compositions, all filtered through his musical and life experiences, and expressed in a fundamentally Jewish way.
The group’s aim is to remain true to Moskowitz’s spirit of being willing to experiment with klezmer music forms, and at the same time trying to discover and retain the elements that give the music its Jewish identity.
ABOUT ART BAILEY
Pianist and accordionist Art Bailey is active in the improvised and world music scenes, and has appeared with such diverse musical performers as jazz saxophonist Steve Lacy, classical violinist Itzhak Perlman, and renowned bluegrass musician Del McCoury.
Art has been the pianist with the Klezmer Conservatory Band since 1998, contributing new arrangements to the band’s repertoire and making stage and television appearances worldwide.
Since moving to New York in 2003, Art has performed with many of the major participants of the downtown klezmer scene including David Krakauer, Frank London, Alicia Svigals and Matt Darriau. He has performed on Broadway in the revival of “Fiddler on the Roof” with Harvey Fierstein and in “Most Happy Fella” at Lincoln Center with the New York City Opera.
In addition to his activities as a pianist and arranger in jazz and latin music, his current project, Orkestra Popilar, is an exciting quintet that explores the Romanian side of Jewish music.
Learn more at http://www.artbailey.org