New Shabbos Waltz

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David Grisman and Andy Statman have made two previous duet albums: the free form Mandolin Abstractions (1982) and Songs of Our Fathers (1995), a tribute to the two musicians’ Jewish heritage.

New Shabbos Waltz is a follow-up to the latter, a set of all-instrumental recordings drawn from traditional Jewish repertoire, some quite ancient, some more recent (two compositions come from the late Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach).

Considering the piety surrounding this music — some of the songs are born of the orthodox Chassidic experience, some of war, and at least one, “Ani Ma’amin (I Believe),” was sung in the concentration camps — much of it is surprisingly joyous in sound.

Grisman’s mandolin, as always, is exquisite, and Statman contributes both his melodic clarinet melodies and a second mandolin. It’s in the additional instrumentation that New Shabbos Waltz becomes truly fascinating, though: who would have ever imagined the renowned Los Angeles studio drummer Hal Blaine, who performed on countless West Coast rock hits during the ’60s, laying down the beat for an album of traditional Jewish music? Yet here he is, rockin’ out mightily on “Old Klezmer” and several other tracks. Also pitching in is slide guitar whiz Bob Brozman, who contributes subtly to the doleful texture of the ballad “Oifen Pripitchik (On the Heart).”

Andy Statman was born in Brooklyn, New York City. He first gained acclaim as a mandolinist in pioneering bluegrass bands Country Cookin’ and Breakfast Special.  Statman, who grew up in a traditional but secular Jewish home, began to explore his Jewish roots. He turned to Klezmer music, traditional Eastern European Jewish instrumental music. Now playing clarinet, he recorded various albums that were highly influential in the Klezmer revival that began in the late 70s. Soon, he began playing Chassidic melodies, fusing bluegrass, klezmer, and jazz along the way.

Statman learned Klezmer clarinet from legendary Klezmer clarinetist Dave Tarras, who bequeathed several of his clarinets to him. Statman also produced Dave Tarras’s last recording. Given this apprenticeship and his subsequent teaching at workshops such as KlezKamp as well as privately, Statman has become the dean of living Klezmer clarinetists.

The Andy Statman Trio, which includes bassist Jim Whitney and percussionist Larry Eagle, plays regularly at Derech Amuno Synagogue in Greenwich Village in New York City, and tours nationally as schedules allow.

In 1983, he performed on the Antilles Records release Swingrass ’83.

He has participated in a yearly Klezmer concert series with Itzhak Perlman and other Klezmer superstars.

In 2007, he was a Grammy Awards nominee in the Country Instrumental category for his version of Bill Monroe’s “Rawhide” on Shefa CD “East Flatbush Blues.”

In 2008, Statman appeared as a guest on Bela Fleck and the Flecktones holiday album Jingle All the Way, playing both clarinet and mandolin. The album won Best Pop Instrumental Album at the 51st Grammy Awards. He joined the group in concert on December 10 at University at Buffalo, Center for the Arts, and December 16 at Philadelphia’s Kimmel Center.

His current recording project, slated to be released in 2011 on Shefa Records, is tentatively entitled “Old Brooklyn,” a two-CD set featuring the American roots, R&B, Chassidic and other sides of his music, performed with his trio and a number of guest artists. Per Andy: “A 2-CD set, Old Brooklyn, will be available this year and will include my trio with Jim Whitney and Larry Eagle, along with Byron Berline, Jon Sholle, Ricky Skaggs, Béla Fleck, Paul Shaffer, Bruce Molsky, Art Baron, Marty Rifkin, Bob Jones, and Lew Soloff.

Album: “New Shabbos Waltz – A Collection of Timeless Jewish Melodies” by Andy Statman & David Grisman

Price: $9.99 (listen to more samples | buy CD)
Genres: Music, Jazz, Klezmer, World
Released: August 08, 2006 ℗ 2006 Acoustic Disc

 

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