Featuring a live concert track of Metropolitan Klezmer's "Mayn Rue Plats" arrangement heard on soundtrack of HBO's SCHMATTA: Rags to Riches to Rags.
"Metropolitan Klezmer... prove themselves the most versatile and arguably most ferociously entertaining klezmer act around." - LUCID CULTURE
"Metropolitan Klezmer, one of the finest American klezmer bands, deliver a varied, highly enjoyable set of both traditional klezmer and swinging Jewish jazz, as befits Klezmer's roots as Jewish diaspora music." 4 STARS!
- Mike Gerber, Songlines Magazine (UK)
One of New York’s finest live acts, this live cd was a stroke of genius and is pure bliss to listen to, every style of haunting or boisterous Jewish roots music you could ever want. (from Lucid Culture's "Top 50 Albums of 2008")
“A fun-filled live recording with lots of great klezmer tunes and wonderful Yiddish songs. Guys & Dolls and Bagels is an interesting attempt to make klezmer accessible to a non-klezmer literate audience.”
- fROOTS [Folk Roots] Magazine, UK (with ‘thumbs up’ rating)
Best of 2007 list, FIVE STARS! - George Robinson, Jewish Week (NYC) & L.A. Jewish Journal; also "Best of 2007" in Boston Jewish Advocate & Detroit Jewish News
"Metropolitan Klezmer is an octet led by drummer Eve Sicular that has been delighting audiences in NYC and beyond for over a decade. Their brand of hard-hitting traditional American klezmer is captured here live in front of an enthusiastic audience on their latest release *Traveling Show*. Deborah Karpel's expressive Yiddish theater-style vocals, a powerful horn section with the wonderful trombonist Reut Regev and the standout musicianship of violinist Michael Hess and clarinetist Debra Kreisberg result in a great party performance.
The program is indeed a traveling show, with a smorgasbord of influences that go way beyond the traditional and include reworked versions of songs from Broadway musicals, the occasional original and more than a few hints of swing and Latin. Their "Traveling Dreydls" medley uniquely re-energizes two Chanukah classics, "I Had a Little Dreydl" and "S'vivon."
...With originality, expert musicianship and a keen world music sensibility ... Jewish music that should delight even the most discerning jazzer on your Chanukah gift list."
- All About Jazz, December 2007
"Metropolitan Klezmer is highly skilled, but with a sense of humor. Traveling Show works equally well as an introduction of klezmer or as a treat for those who already love the music." - RAMBLES Magazine
TRAVELING SHOW is a thrilling, beautifully produced concert recording from NYC's Metropolitan Klezmer octet, plus a charming Isle of Klezbos sextet studio cameo in a grooving Yinglish/Latin "Comes Love". Formed in 1994, Metropolitan Klezmer matches levity and gravity with eclectic exuberance, approaching tradition with irreverence and respect. This brand new disc is our fourth CD on Rhythm Media Records (two are already Outmusic Awardwinners), featuring full-length, full-house onstage performances from 2006. The group mixes vibrant adaptations with alluring wild-crafted originals, bringing together variegated paths of discovery for a far-flung, soulful and fun-loving musical panorama. All heard on an intriguing array of instruments, plus sweet vocals in Yiddish as well as the occasional English lyrics; descriptive and lovely liner booklet, and our first jewel-box free, 'digipak' design in gorgeous color layout.
The band’s refreshingly varied repertoire ranges from rollicking dance to ethereal trance, and from haunting Terkisher sounds to Balkan-blazed showtune to swinging Yiddish tango. Among the band's latest explorations are gorgeously arranged Hasidic-inspired tunes spinning wonder-working tales; melodies from folkloric soundtracks and Soviet newsreels; and a klezmogrified suite based on a cantorial/wedding dance interpretation of Guys & Dolls. A subtly powerful, blues-inflected original groove piece with an Eastern European sensibility comes from the imagination of clarinet/sax player Debra Kreisberg. Also included are two totally danceable and even bilingual dreydl songs gone modal, both sinuous and street beat. In addition to this disc's full-length concert set by Metropolitan Klezmer, the final tune is a studio recording, the genre-bending sultry Latin/Yiddish melange of American songbook standard "Comes Love" by the Isle of Klezbos (MK's sister sextet).
Metropolitan Klezmer has been broadcast on CNN Worldbeat, PRI's Sound + Spirit, ARD German TV's Rhythms of New York, and WFUV's CityFolk Live, as well as hundreds more stations worldwide. Metropolitan Klezmer and Isle of Klezbos CD releases have made top pick hits for Phat Planet (U.K.) and WRUW radio, as well as Essential Klezmer and Jewish Week favorites lists.
ISMAIL BUTERA (Sounds of Taraab, Balkan Brothers) - accordion
PAM FLEMING (Hazmat Modine, Burning Spear) - trumpet, flugelhorn
MICHAEL HESS (Alhambra, Smyrneiki Kompania) - ney flutes, violin
DAVE HOFSTRA (Microscopic Septet, Bill Frisell) - acoustic bass, tuba
DEBORAH KARPEL (Hot Keys, Blind Witness News) - vocals
DEBRA KREISBERG (Los Mas Valientes, D'Tripp) - clarinet, alto sax
REUT REGEV (Anthony Braxton, Gloria Deluxe) - trombone
EVE SICULAR (Isle of Klezbos, Voodoobillies) - drums, bandleader
As with all Metropolitan Klezmer CDs on Rhythm Media Records, "Traveling Show" is lovingly packaged with gorgeous graphics (for the first time including photos of each band member in live performance). And as always, the beautifully laid-out liner notes booklet includes detailed descriptions of each track, with lyrics in Yiddish alphabet, full transliteration and English translations.
"[5 stars: top rating] There used to be two complaints about live rock albums. Either the band played their greatest hits exactly as they had on record (Who needs a live recording that's nothing but a reprise of the studio, only with the mistakes intact?) or they indulged their arty sides with long, dull solos. Old-line klezmer wasn't as much of an improviser's art as, say, jazz, but contemporary New Klez is much more so. And that means a live set like this new one from the Metros is welcome. The band swings hard, everyone has ample solo room and plenty to say. There's even a track from Eve Sicular's other band, Isle of Klezbos. In short, this is what a live set should be: great fun."
- George Robinson: Jewish Journal LA, Boston Jewish Advocate, Detroit Jewish News, & Jewish Week, NYC
"Metropolitan Klezmer is an accomplished eight-piece band based in New York City whose repertoire ranges from traditional folk songs to klezified jazz tunes with a healthy dose of material drawn from Yiddish theatre and cinema. Utilizing tight arrangements borne of many years of playing together, with a healthy dose of improvisation to keep the material fresh, this engaging live set is highlighted by a moving rendition of "Mayn Rue Plats," Morris Rosenfeld's classic labor song, and an exciting final medley of Rumanian tunes."
- MR, "Sing Out!" magazine, Vol. 51 #3, Autumn 2007
"This feisty NYC-based octet, together twelve years and counting, is known for its encyclopedic range of Yiddish sounds. The group delivers an excellent 18-track live set punctuated by the 'Klezbonus' cut "Comes Love," from their sister sextet offshoot, Isle of Klezbos."
- CURVE Magazine
“An exciting facet of today’s Klezmer scene for is the mix of genre-bending sounds that are being created by an increasing number of very talented groups. This is a welcome trend and shows a worldwide acceptance of Jewish musical traditions. One of the most important discoveries I’ve made is Metropolitan Klezmer and their latest release, Traveling Show, a live recording that encompasses a wide range of musical tastes that truly has something for everybody. The band’s energy and interaction with a very appreciative audience put this at the top of my list of live Klezmer recordings.
Traveling Show really has two meanings: The band as it is heard "on the road" while touring, as well as the global roots of the repertoire, North American, Eastern European, Balkan, Latin, and Soviet Yiddish Theater. All are represented with truth, originality, and musicality.
Metropolitan Klezmer does a marvelous job of taking medleys of well-known Klezmer songs and piecing together the best parts in stylistically creative ways, making mini-suites of these musical treasures.
My favorite track on the album is Baltic Blue, an original composition by reed player Debra Kreisberg. It is a Jazz-influenced Terkisher that opens up for solos from Accordion, Sax, Muted Trumpet, and Trombone, and backed by delicate Percussion, Accordion, and some very tasty Acoustic Bass. Kreisberg is a versatile performer, with a great Clarinet sound on the Klezmer tunes and some free flowing Sax on the Swing/Jazz tunes.
The focal point for the group is Vocalist Deborah Karpel, who leads the musical journey with great style. From Yiddish swing favorites like Ot Azoy Neyt a Shnayder and Abi Gezunt to the Balkan-backed Pick A Pocket Or Two to the traditional A Yid, A Kaptsn, the melancholy Mayn Rue Platz, and the distinctive Musikalisher Tango, she gives a nuanced performance that is among the best of today’s interpreters of Yiddish song.
More fun breaks out on Klezmerengue, a latin-flavored rendition of Yosl, Yosl; a "klezmographied" rendition of Guys & Dolls & Bagels, and the Dixieland- flavored version of Ikh Bin A Kleyner Dreydl.
Pam Fleming gives us a soulful Flugelhorn on Kalarash Khupe & Frolic, Mayn Rue Plats, and An Alter Nign. The rest of the time she leads the horns with some very spirited trumpet playing, and fills in nicely on the jazz numbers.
Ismail Butera plays the role of the energetic Accordionist with masterful solos on Mostly Rumanian Finale and Encore, some short solos on other tracks, and restrained accompaniment throughout the album (as there is no keyboard). I think Accordionists are generally underappreciated, but Butera makes you take notice of his inspired performance.
Michael Hess is a great violoinist, but really makes his mark here with his Ney Flutes on S’vivon, Terk In Amerike, Ney Taxim, and Striver’s Sher.
Reut Regev is terrific at pumping out the Trombone accompaniment throughout the album, but gets limited exposure. She has some great solo work, however, on Baltic Blue, Grandma’s Dance, and Abi Gezunt.
Dave Hofstra is a very talented Bass player, laying a perfect foundation for the band across all the musical styles on the album, especially on Baltic Blue, and a beautiful solo on Abi Gezunt. But the surprise comes from his doubling on Tuba on C Minor Bulgar and Ken O’Hara Freylekhs, Pick A Pocket Or Two, Striver’s Sher, and Kalarash Khupe and Freylekh.
Finally, we meet the unsung heroine of the group, Drummer Eve Sicular, who lays a perfect groove, whether Klezmer, Balkan, or Swing. She is among the best on the scene today. But let’s not stop there. She also had a hand in arranging all but one of the nineteen songs on the album, and was involved in mixing and editing, plus serving as the Producer, and writing the liner notes and Yiddish translations. It’s a daunting task to take on so much of the behind-the-scenes work on a project like this, and she has pulled it off with a very clean, crisp recording that will sound great on anything you play it on. Live recordings are difficult to get right, but this is one of the best-engineered live albums I’ve heard.
Speaking of liner notes, the cleverly-packaged insert is an 8-page foldout booklet that gives a good introduction to the album, as well as notes about each of the songs and some of the English/Yiddish lyrics.
One last thing to mention is the bonus track, Comes Love, a beautiful studio recording made by Sicular’s smaller group, Isle Of Klezbos. It’s flowing lyric is set to a Tango/Yiddish Waltz and leaves some room for some more solos from the band members.
Traveling Show is at the top of my list for albums to recommend. It has every Jewish style and would be a great first album to buy if you are just starting to get into Klezmer/Jewish music. It’s got a home on my playlist for a long time to come. And who knows, maybe Traveling Show might be coming to your town.”
-Keith Wolzinger, Klezmer Podcast
"OUTRAGEOUSLY FANTASTIC!! Metropolitan Klezmer has done it again! A fresh and exciting new klezmer album that needs to be in the collection of every klezmer music lover! It will be on the air TOMORROW... great new addition to my playlist!"
- Barry Reisman / Program Host, WNWR, Philadephia
"One of the foremost groups in the current wave of klezmer revivalists"
- Lucid Culture, 4/10/2008