Shirim Klezmer Orchestra is one of the most respected bands of the Klezmer revival, and Mayse is their latest and most scintillating release. "Mayse" draws liberally from the repertoire of Naftule Brandwein with some gems thrown in from Beckerman, Tarras, Kandel and Beregovski, and the band pulls out all the stops. The musicians, some of the most experienced traditional players around, have been playing this music long enough to transcend the style, pulling off extended improvised solos which are stylistically relevant, alternately driving and meditative, virtuosic and lyrical, and emerge organically from the traditional melodies. Connected with soundscapes from ambient recordings made at Ellis Island, wedding receptions and interviews, and the tunes take on a narrative quality which gives the album an intriguing subplot and 21st century relevance. This is an album of old music which is living and breathing, which makes you feel like you are experiencing the creation of the tradition now.
Shirim features bandleader Glenn Dickson on clarinet, David Harris on trombone, Michael McLaughlin on accordion & piano, Brandon Seabrook on banjo, Jim Gray on tuba, Eric Rosenthal on drums.
In addition to working with Maurice Sendak on "Pincus & the Pig" and creating the Klezmer Nutcracker, Shirim has been featured on the soundtrack of Woody Allen's "Deconstructing Harry," collaborated with public radio host Ellen Kushner (of "Sound & Spirit") on the Hannukah story with music, "The Golden Dreydl" (available on Rykodisc). All the members of Shirim have recorded and toured as "Naftule's Dream," an avante-klezmer ensemble.