As a scion of the prestigious Musiker family, clarinetist Ray Musiker has been central to some of the most important moments in 20th century Yiddish-American music. Here, accompanied by a handpicked ensemble of today's finest klezmer players, Ray Musiker offers a thrilling tour of the music he learned and the music he created.
Ray Musiker: clarinet
Aaron Alexander: drums
Jim Guttmann: bass
Alex Kontorovich: alto sax and clarinet
Ken Maltz: tenor sax and clarinet
Henry Sapoznik: guitar
Peter Sokolow: piano
Engineered by King Django
Note from Producer/Musical Director Pete Sokolow:
As a long-time colleague and close friend of the uniquely talented clarinetist Ray Musiker, I feel it entirely appropriate that Living Traditions has seen fit to honor this major historic figure with a recording. As a member of one of klezmer music's royal families, Ray has been there and done it all. He appears in featured roles on the immortal "Tanz!" album, with his brother Sam on early 1950’s Victor sessions, leading his Jewish All-Stars on the Audio Fidelity label, with jazz great Terry Gibbs, and with his son, pianist Lee Musiker, famous in his own right. I took it upon myself to set up as ideal a setting as could be possible, using a two-reed and rhythm section backup group for Ray, which Henry Sapoznik and I had used so successfully in the Yiddish Radio All-Stars group in 2002. We were indeed fortunate to have at KlezKamp an ideal panoply of musicians who were able to perform my arrangements to perfection on the spot.
Ray's ideas for the repertoire included some of his own classic compositions, some wonderful Abe Ellstein works, and recreations of pieces from the "Tanz!" and Sam/Ray Victor dates. The listener will be instantly aware of the extraordinary skill and artistry of this veteran performer, who reached his eightieth birthday in 2006. He easily holds his own with the younger musicians on this recording; the empathy and unity achieved here are nothing short of miraculous!
We are therefore honored to present this superb product for the edification and enjoyment of our listening public.
Pianist, Arranger, Musical Director
KlezKamp December, 2006